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De Villiers claims Dakar victory

Volkswagen's driver Giniel De Villiers
Giniel De Villiers becomes the first South African to win the Dakar Rally

Giniel de Villiers has become the first South African to win the Dakar Rally after winning the 15th and final stage.

De Villiers held a narrow two-minute lead but ended just under nine minutes ahead of team-mate Mark Miller as the race finished in Buenos Aires.

Nascar star Robby Gordon was third while De Villiers's victory in the Volkswagen ended Mitsubishi's rule in the Dakar Rally since 2001.

In the motorbike section Marc Coma beat champion Cyril Despres by over an hour.

It was definitely a genuine Dakar Rally, and the toughest edition I've ever contested

Giniel De Villiers

The 31st Dakar Rally was held in South America after the 2008 race was cancelled because of fears of terrorist attacks in Mauritania.

"This is an incredible feeling," De Villiers said after 48 hours of racing.

"Even though I've ended up winning the Dakar that was not staged in Africa, which is home to me, it was definitely a genuine Dakar Rally, and the toughest edition I've ever contested."

Mitsubishi, meanwhile, have vowed to bounce back after surrendering their seven-year winning record in the event.

Of a possible 13 stage wins, Volkswagen won 10.

"We will work as hard as possible and invest everything to be ready for 2010 and make sure that we can win back the title," said Mitsubishi team director Dominique Serieys.



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see also
Spaniard in coma at Dakar Rally
13 Jan 09 |  Rallying
Motorcyclist dies at Dakar Rally
07 Jan 09 |  Rallying
Rally duo in hospital after crash
06 Jan 09 |  Rallying


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