Giniel de Villiers secured his first stage victory of the 2018 Dakar Rally, with the South African doing enough to deny Stephane Peterhansel the final spot on the overall podium as a result.
The 2009 Dakar winner, alongside co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz, won the 119-kilometre final stage around Cordoba by forty seconds from Peterhansel, with the final gap between them being eight minutes and forty-eight seconds at the end of thirteen challenging stages.
De Villiers felt confident that he could maintain his spot on the podium on what was essentially a World Rally Championship-style final stage, and he was delighted to clinch the podium finish and ensure two Toyota Gazoo Racing SA teams finished inside the top three after team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah and his co-driver Matthieu Baumel claimed second place.
“We always knew that Stephane was going to push on the last stage, but making up eight minutes on such a fast WRC-style stage isn’t easy,” said de Villiers. “At the same time, we had to make sure we made no mistakes, and one slip could cost us the podium.
“It is always special to win a stage on the Dakar, and this year we got a win right at the end. But more than that, we brought the Toyota Hilux home on the podium, just behind our team-mates Nasser and Mathieu. What a fantastic feeling.”