Giniel de Villiers believes Dakar 2017 will be a return to the rally-raid event's roots

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Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:04 pm

Toyota's Giniel de Villiers believes Dakar 2017 will be a return to the rally-raid event's roots, as the South African criticised the routes of past editions for being “too easy”.

Many competitors were critical of the 2016 route in particular, which featured several straightforward "WRC-style" sections in the early going.

For 2017, Dakar organisers have promised a tougher route with an increased emphasis on navigation, with sporting director Marc Coma saying it should be the hardest edition of the rally since it moved to South America in 2009.

De Villiers, who won the 2009 edition, has welcomed the organisers' approach to this year's race.

"I think it will be quite an interesting rally, it will be different to last year especially - a lot less WRC-type stages and a lot of difficult navigation, a lot of difficult technical stages," de Villiers told

"I think the average speed will be lower, which will be a bigger challenge. The altitude is going to be tough. I think it's going to be a real, back-to-the-roots Dakar."

De Villiers, who has made it to the finish in each of the 13 Dakars that he's contested so far, concedes that a tougher route could be advantageous for him and Toyota.

"I think this year it will be different, and maybe it will suit us more, for sure. We like it when it's tough, we like it when it's difficult, when it's a big challenge and you really have to work for your position. We like it that way," the South African said.

"It's probably been a bit too easy the last couple of years, with the WRC-type stages. Too much of a sprint, really. And that's not really what the sport is about." ... rs-862324/" onclick=";return false;

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