De Villiers shines again at Dakar
South Africa's Giniel de Villiers secured his fourth podium finish at the annual Dakar Rally when he took second overall after the 14th and final stage of this year's event in Chile on Saturday.
De Villiers and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz completed the stage in fourth position, and while they closed the gap on the French pairing of Stephane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret by another couple of minutes, they finished the race 42 minutes, 22 seconds behind the defending champions.
They were 46 minutes clear of third-placed Russians Leonid Novitskiy and Konstantin Zhiltsov.
De Villiers, who finished outside the top 10 in only one of the 14 stages, moved into second position after Sunday's rest day, and held his place for the last six legs of the gruelling race.
He had previously won the event in 2009, finished second in 2011 and third last year.
Meanwhile, Sarel van Biljon, the only South African to win a stage of this year's race, in the quads division, bagged his third stage victory on the final leg to finish 21st overall.
Having struggled on the ninth stage, Van Biljon lost his podium place and tumbled down the standings, soldiering on in the second half of the event and eventually finishing more than 15 hours behind Argentine winner Marcos Patronelli.
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In the bikes section, won by Frenchman Cyril Despres, Riaan van Niekerk was the best of the South Africans, taking 13th overall after completing the final stage in 22nd position. Van Niekerk moved into the top 20 on the fourth leg and finished strongly.
Darryl Curtis, on the other hand, had a fantastic start, lying seventh overall after two legs, but he struggled in the latter stages of the race and slipped back. Curtis was a lowly 60th in the final stage, taking 32nd position overall.
Brett Cummings, who had a disastrous start, lying outside the top 100 after the first stage, fought back in the second half of the event.
While he played catch-up for most of the race, Cummings did well to finish 43rd in the standings after crossing the line in 28th place in the final stage.
Cars - Stage
1. Nani Roma (ESP/Mini) 1hr 44min 10sec
2. Orlando Terranova (ARG/BMW) at 13
3. Lucio Alvarez (ARG/Toyota) 31
4. Giniel De Villiers (RSA/Toyota) 1:27
5. Guerlain Chicherit (FRA/SMG) 2:05
6. Robby Gordon (USA/Hummer) 2:17
7. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS/Mini) 2:34
8. Carlos Sousa (POR/Great Wall) 3:19
9. Geoff Olholm (AUS/Toyota) 3:22
10. Stephane Peterhansel (FRA/Mini) 3:43.
Cars - Final standings
1. Stephane Peterhansel (FRA/Mini) 38hr 32min 39sec
2. Giniel De Villiers (RSA/Toyota) at 42:22
3. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS/Mini) 1 h 28:22
4. Nani Roma (ESP/Mini) 1 h 36:43
5. Orlando Terranova (ARG/BMW) 1 h 49:10
6. Carlos Sousa (POR/Great Wall) 2 h 38:16
7. Ronan Chabot (FRA/SMG) 3 h 18:05
8. Guerlain Chicherit (FRA/SMG) 3 h 27:44
9. Pascal Thomasse (FRA/Buggy Md Rallye) 4 h 35:32
10. Lucio Alvarez (ARG/Toyota) 4 h 45:48.
Bikes - Stage
1. Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) 1hr 43min 06sec
2. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP/Husqvarna) at 8
3. Helder Rodrigues (POR/Honda) 24
4. Mario Patrao (POR/Suzuki) 1:21
5. Olivier Pain (FRA/Yamaha) 2:14
6. Paulo Goncalves (POR/Husqvarna) 2:32
7. Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHI/Honda) 2:37
8. Frans Verhoeven (NED/Yamaha) 2:39
9. Ivan Jakes (SVK/KTM) 3:07
10. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP/Honda) 3:11.
22. Riaan van Niekerk (RSA/KTM) 8:36
28. Brett Cummings (RSA) 10:54
60. Darryl Curtis (RSA) 18:24
Bikes - Final standings
1. Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) 43 hr 24min 22sec
2. Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) at 10:43
3. Francisco Chaleco Lopez Contardo (CHI/KTM) 18:48
4. Ivan Jakes (SVK/KTM) 23:54
5. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP/KTM) 55:29
6. Olivier Pain (FRA/Yamaha) 1 h 06:30
7. Helder Rodrigues (POR/Honda) 1 h 11:22
8. Javier Pizzolito (ARG/Honda) 1 h 26:07
9. Frans Verhoeven (NED/Yamaha) 1 h 26:35
10. Paulo Goncalves (POR/Husqvarna) 1 h 28:20.
13. Riaan van Niekerk (RSA) 2 h 02:54
32. Darryl Curtis (RSA) 6 h 05:38
43. Brett Cummings (RSA) 8 h 32:20