For the first time in the races history a South African has won the Dakar Rally.
de Villiers himself puts admits to a bit of luck in the win.
Dakar Rally winner Giniel de Villiers admitted luck and the exit of Carlos Sainz were crucial factors in his victory.
De Villiers trailed Sainz until the Spaniard crashed into a ravine and his co-driver Michel Perin suffered a shoulder injury.
“It was crazy, really incredible,” De Villiers said. “Until the 11th stage I was in third and knew that it was going to be very hard. “The rally was very demanding and we went through a lot of difficult moments. In some of them we were lucky, but, overall, the car was fantastic.”
He added: “I felt very bad because of what happened to Carlos but I was relieved when I noticed that both of them were okay.”
Volkswagen’s De Villiers and co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz won four special stages to finish eight minutes and 59 seconds ahead of American Mark Miller and end Mitsubishi’s five-year winning streak.
“We are going to celebrate with the whole crew with a couple of beers,” added De Villiers.
Meanwhile, race manager Ettiene Lavigne hailed the “historic” event but refused to confirm if the Rally will return to South America next year.
“This Dakar was historic,” Lavigne said. “Before coming here a lot of people said that it was dead, but it came from its ashes and became this great race.
“It was a human adventure and fabulous place and the landscapes amazed the drivers.
“If the rally comes back to Argentina and Chile the experiences during this edition will help us to make same changes in the stages.”
I’m not a big Dakar Rally follower, I should be I think as the race itself is monumental. Apparently the teams spend millions upon millions of Euro’s on the team preparation and cost of running throughout the race. So I think it’s quite an achievement for a South African to come through – however it happend – and win it.
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