The 2022 Dakar Rally has just begun but one driver for Toyota Gazoo Racing has managed to run over two motorcycles and one rider. Toyota’s Giniel De Villiers ran over Chilean motorcyclist César Zumarán on Sunday at the rally’s opening stage. Then on Tuesday, Villiers ran over Moroccan KTM rider, Ali Oukerbouch, causing “major mechanical damage” to his bike, per Dirtfish.
Dakar Rally stewards hit Villiers with a five-minute penalty for his first offense, though it wasn’t for running Zumarán over. Collisions at Dakar are not that uncommon. No, Villiers was punished because of how he behaved after running over the rider, since he failed to render aid or help in any way.
Diariomotor reports that the rider waving could be seen as an extenuating circumstance. So, Zumarán’s wave maybe could’ve exonerated Villiers but the rider was clearly under duress.
To be fair, Villiers put out a statement explaining his actions and apologizing. He admits that the better thing to do would’ve been to stop and be certain:
The rider got up and indicated to us to pass by waving to us to go past which we then did safely. We should have stopped to double check if he was ok, but because he waved us by our understanding was that he was ok. I want to apologise for not stopping and also for the unfortunate incident.
If you’ve fallen off a bike you’ll know there’s an instinctual reaction to pick up the bike — if at all possible — and get the fuck out of the way. Adrenaline masking any injury. But shouldn’t there be sportsmanship from the driver who ran you over? After the Chilean rider collapses, Villiers just keeps driving.
Luckily, Zumarán was not seriously injured and finished the race, but Dakar officials thought Villier’s inaction warranted a penalty that set the Toyota driver back from fourth to sixth place, as Dirtfish reports.
On Tuesday, however, Villiers ran over another bike and avoided hitting its operator reportedly because the rider saw the massive Toyota Hilux coming:
De Villiers was reported to have “caused major mechanical damage” to the Moroccan Racing Team KTM of Ali Oukerbouch after he fell while negotiating a dune.
Oukerbouch saw de Villiers approaching and got out of the way, but the Toyota ran over the bike. De Villiers did a round tour of the scene and continued for the remainder of the stage.
And again, Villiers looked over, drove in a circle around bike and rider (I’m going to assume while doing duck face and throwing a thumbs-up,) and just kept driving. Villiers is now under investigation for the second offense.