No wonder he's a success, Dakar champion Giniel de Villiers has racing in his blood

No wonder he's a success, Dakar champion Giniel de Villiers has racing in his blood

- Giniel de Villiers is South Africa's golden boy of the Dakar rally

- He won what many call the toughest race in the world in 2009

- Despite being a racing fanatic de Villiers enjoys a wide range of activities off the race track

It is no surprise that Giniel de Villiers won the Dakar in 2009, he has racing in his blood. His father, Pieter, affectionately known as Smittie was a keen motorsport enthusiast and an amateur rally driver. He made sure that his son was exposed racing.

At a young age, de Villiers raced anything he could drive and against anything that would move. His dad built him his first go-kart which he used to challenge the tractors on the farm he grew up on.

There was no denying it, he had racing in his blood and soon starting getting all the right attention and became the golden boy of the local touring car circuit.

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However, there is more the Giniel de Villiers than simply racing. He loves the outdoors and enjoys taking to the trails on a mountain bike. He also enjoys pursuing more leisurely activities such as playing a round of golf in the Stellenbosch area.

If you ever had the pleasure of meeting Giniel de Villiers one would encounter a person far removed from the typical hell-raising racing driver he is, in reality, a quiet, unassuming and humble man. What also sets him aside from other adrenaline junkies is that he is the consummate professional.

This year's Dakar has been particularly brutal forcing de Villiers to fight his way to the top against the harsh environment and stiff competition. A veteran on the Dakar scene he is still a formidable presence and has climbed up the ranking in this year's Dakar to sixth place beating many other seasoned professionals.

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His team Toyota Gazoo Racing SA currently holds the lead in the rankings with de Villiers being the only South African driver on the team.

He has raced the Dakar religiously since 2003 and has no intention of stopping anytime soon.The off-road rally has racers driving up 800km a day for two weeks over some of the toughest and roughest terrain in the world.

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