Giniel de Villiers faces criticism after two incidents involving motorcyclists at the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia – He even talks of death threats
“Of course it’s tough and the abuse I’m reading on social media – up to and including death threats – is unbelievable,” Giniel de Villiers told ‘Motorsport-Total.com’, who was involved in two incidents with motorcyclists on the first two days of the 2022 Dakar Rally. There was first a collision with Chilean Cesar Zumaran and then another accident with Mohamedsaid Aloulad Ali, in which the latter’s bike was destroyed.
“Obviously they were very difficult days,” said de Villiers. “We know we did everything we could to not run over the bike. It’s very difficult because people can get stuck behind the dunes. The investigation wasn’t done sensibly, but the good thing is that the penalty has now been cancelled and we can get back into the race. “
De Villiers criticises handling of his person
Although race officials cleared de Villiers of blame for the accident, it was not only factual criticism that hailed down, but also insults and threats against the experienced Dakar driver. “This is the first time I’ve experienced something like this,” he says. “I have to say it’s not really pleasant. I know it usually comes from people who don’t know the situation because they are not here. “
“You sit at home and it’s very easy to comment on something when you don’t really know the facts,” de Villiers countered his critics. “But it’s still quite disturbing. To read something like that is not nice. From that point of view, I’m glad we’ve got that behind us.” De Villiers immediately apologised to Aloulad Ali after the incident and offered to cover the cost of the damage and the entry fee for the 2023 Dakar.
“I spoke to the two motorcyclists and they are very nice guys,” explained the 49-year-old. “I have apologised to them for what happened.” De Villiers also sees a need for improvement in safety when both the cars and the bikes shoot through the dunes. He says the safety system in the South African’s car did not work properly at the start of the rally and so played its part.
Damage and registration fee to be covered
Because the emergency signal came just two seconds before the collision with the Moroccan’s bike, the race organizers do not see any blame on de Villiers, who did everything humanly possible to prevent personal injury – even if the bike was severely damaged in the process. “But the most important thing is that they are both okay,” said the driver.
Aloulad Ali was competing in his first Dakar Rally and had to retire early because of the damage to his bike. “He couldn’t experience the full race and that’s why we are making sure he has a bike next year and we are paying for the registration. That’s the least we can do and the spirit of the Dakar.” However, De Villiers also clarifies that other cars also ran over the bike as the drivers could not see it behind the dune.