DAKAR 2009

Giniel de Villiers: 'I’m unbelievably happy'

South-African driver Giniel de Villiers (Volkswagen) will never forget his triumphant arrival in Buenos Aires after he won his first Dakar. In an interview with FRANCE 24, he explains that he owes his success to his team’s hard work.


FRANCE 24 - How do you feel about your first Dakar win?


Giniel de Villiers - It’s incredible. I’m unbelievably happy. I’ll probably realise in a couple of days. I am very happy for the team. I think about 2007, when we came so close to winning. For this year, we worked even harder. My team has done an incredible job. I’m very happy for my teammates. It’s a great achievement that you can only explain by hard work.


FRANCE 24 - Do you have thoughts for Carlos Sainz today?


Giniel de Villiers - I feel sorry for Carlos. He was doing a great rally up to that point (when an accident forced him to quit during stage 12, editor’s note). But the race is never over until the finish line. The same thing happened to him in 2003 and he was over an hour ahead…


FRANCE 24 - What did you think about this first South American Dakar?


Giniel de Villiers - I really enjoyed it, though it was a difficult race. The landsdcapes were beautiful, the terrain was sometimes very challenging… But the best was to see so many people cheering on the side of the roads. People are in an incredible spirit here.


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