‘Second place in Dakar Rally a miracle’
South Africans should regard his second place Dakar Rally finish over the weekend as a miracle, not a disappointment, Giniel de Villiers told Beeld newspaper in a report on Wednesday.
He and his German teammate Dirk von Zitzewitz had recorded their Imperial Toyota team triumph after 8 000 miles and 15 days of blood, sweat and intense focus, in 39 hours, 15 minutes and 1 second, he said.
In 2011, De Villiers and his team achieved a third place, Beeld reported.
This year, winners Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret, both from France, completed the rally in 38 hours, 32 minutes and 39 seconds.
The 2013 race, De Villiers' ninth, started in Peru and ended in Argentina and Chile.
De Villers said that never in his wildest dreams had he thought he and his teammates would improve their position to second place.
"Yes, I realise that expectations were very high, but perhaps people should view our result in the right context ... it took Volkswagen three years to reach the podium and six years to win.
"If you compare the Toyota team's budget with that of the Germans, this is a miracle," he told the newspaper.