South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers on Monday won the second stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia after finishing ahead of Argentine Orlando Terranova & UAE’s Khalid F Al Qassimi.
De Villiers, in his Toyota, finished the 401-kilometer course in three hours 37 minutes 20 seconds, of which 367 kilometers between Al-Wajh and Neom was a timed running.
X-raid Mini driver Terranova came in second three minutes 57 seconds later while Al Qassimi, who finished in 6th place during the 2018 edition, completed the stage in his Peugeot 3008 DKR.
Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al Rajhi, who led the stage through the first five waypoints, encountered navigational problems that saw De Villiers capitalise and take the lead.
This was the 15th special win for De Villiers, who won the rally in 2009.
De Villiers’ win also meant he became the first driver in the history of the Dakar Rally to win specials on three different continents.
“We just had a stop with Bernhard [ten Brinke] to give him some tires because he ran out of tires, cost us a minute or two. Otherwise really good day,” De Villiers said after the stage.
Terranova leads the overall standings four minutes and 43 seconds ahead of veteran driver Carlos Sainz and defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar. De Villiers, meanwhile, climbed up to 6th overall, 12 minutes behind Terranova.
Meanwhile, in the motorcycle category, Ross Branch of Botswana won stage two in his KTM bike ahead of Britain’s Sam Sunderland to move up to 6th overall four minutes 19 seconds behind overall leader Sunderland. Branch is the first-ever stage winner from Botswana.