De Villiers wins Dakar car race

BUENOS AIRES: South African Giniel De Villiers won the Dakar rally on Saturday after a narrow victory in the final stage of the controversial race.

De Villiers, who twice benefited after previous leaders dropped out during the two-week event, finished the 227 kms timed section of the stage from Cordoba to Buenos Aires in one hour 35 minutes 43 seconds.

He finished two seconds ahead of Russian Leonid Novitsky. De Villiers was handed the lead for the first time during the sixth stage when Qatari Nasser Al Attiyah was disqualified for failing to follow the official route.

He was overtaken the following day by Carlos Sainz but regained the lead on Thursday when the Spaniard crashed out. De Villiers finished eight minutes 59 seconds ahead of Volkswagen teammate Mark Miller of the United States in the overall standings and one hour 46 minutes ahead of another American Robby Gordon.

The race was moved to Argentina and Chile this year from its traditional venue in Africa because of security fears in Mauritania which forced the cancellation of last year''s event.