“"It's just incredible. I never felt this way. I was so nervous in the last kilometers. I kept looking at how many kilometers we still had to go. But I must say this is an incredible feeling. I am so thrilled for the whole team, for Volkswagen that supported us for 5 years before we could get to this victory,” said De Villiers after the last stage on Saturday.
Miller had to settle for 2nd overall, after admitting it was tough keeping close to De Villiers on Saturday. However, the American praised this year's edition of the Dakar Rally, as he believes it had the most difficult route in years. He completed the 1-2 for Volkswagen in this year's edition of the competition.
“That's a great result for Volkswagen after a difficult rally. It's nice to have contributed to the brand's one-two victory. This rally certainly compares well with the editions in Africa - it was extremely tough. I perceived the special stage from Fiambala to Rioja as being the most difficult one I've ever contested. That was an edition of the rally I'll definitely never forget. The Volkswagen team and the Volkswagen Race Touareg never let us down on this long drive,” said Miller.
Third overall could have been another Volkswagen driver, Carlos Sainz. Well, technically, he was favorite for winning the rally this year, but a crash into a ravine in the 12th stage made him abandon the race for good. It would have been a historical 1-2-3 for the German manufacturer. However, the 3rd best driver in this year's rally was American Robby Gordon, driving for Team Dakar USA (Hummer). While overall winner of the Open class, Gordon finished more than an hour and 46 minutes behind winner De Villiers.
“We may not be the overall winner in this year's Dakar Rally, but I can tell you that we are our own winners. What we did here this year is really amazing. Not only is this my highest finish in a Dakar Rally, but Eric Vigouroux finished 13th in a Hummer that he had virtually no seat time in before the race commenced. This is a testament to the Team Dakar USA program; the more we race the better we get,” said Gordon.
Here is the overall standings of the 2009 Dakar Rally (car):
1. Giniel de Villiers (Volkswagen) 48h10:57
2. Mark Miller (Volkswagen) + 8:59
3. Robby Gordon ( Hummer) + 1h46:15
4. Ivar Erik Tollefsen (Nissan) + 6h04:34
5. Krzysztof Holowczyc ( Nissan) + 6h37:49
6. Dieter Depping (Volkswagen) + 8h43:29
7. Miroslav Zapletal ( Mitsubishi) +11h03:08
8. Leonid Novitskiy (BMW) +13h15:13
9. Guerlain Chicherit ( BMW) +14h49:49
10. Joan Roma (Mitsubishi) +17h27:46