Giniel de Villiers, driving a Nissan Hardbody pickup, won the fourth Morocco Rally in Marrakesh on Monday to become the first South African to win an International Rally Raid event.

Giniel de Villiers, driving a Nissan Hardbody pickup, won the fourth Morocco Rally in Marrakesh on Monday to become the first South African to win an International Rally Raid event.

The Morocco Rally formed round four of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup.

The 2001 South African off-road production vehicle champion, and Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner, completed the five-day 1 718-km event in 15 hours 38 minutes and six seconds, 42 minutes and 48 seconds ahead of Portugal’s Carlos Sousa in a Mitsubishi Pajero. Third, a further 34 minutes and 10 seconds behind, was Spain’s Jose Maria Servia in a Schlesser-Ford buggy.

De Villiers was competing in the official factory Nissan team in only his second international Rally Raid event after finishing fifth overall at the 2003 Dakar Rally.

De Villiers and Thorner were sixth at the end of the first day on Thursday after having a puncture and losing their way on the 275-km first special stage. The South African claimed his first-ever Rally raid special stage win on Friday. This result moved him up to third overall.

He won both stages on Saturday in the Moroccan desert and in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, taking the overall lead. He maintained his lead on Sunday with a cautious fifth overall on the day and started Monday’s final 123-km stage with a comfortable 44 min 5 sec lead over Sousa.

“This was a great team effort,” said De Villiers. “We have all worked very hard for this success and to make the Nissan pickup more competitive.”

Original article from Car