Giniel de Villiers claimed his first Dakar Rally stage win on the event's second marathon stage between Kiffa and Bamako.

Giniel de Villiers claimed his first Dakar Rally stage win on the event's second marathon stage between Kiffa and Bamako.

The route, with lots of vegetation and trees doubling as obstacles, was regarded as one of the better stages of the event, with the weather conditions seeming to have improved.

De Villiers had his best run with his first special stage victory in the Nissan Hardbody, while overall leader Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi) finished second with only three minutes separating the two. Peterhansel's team-mate, Luc Alphand, finished the stage in third place.

Third overall, Jutta Kleinschmidt, completed the stage in sixth place after her Volkswagen Touareg developed rear wheel problems. The standings after stage 12 in the car race remain unchanged with de Villiers maintaining fourth place.

"To be quite honest, this win was rather unexpected," the South African said. "We did not decide to go for a win. It was at around 150 km from the finish that I realised that it looked as if we could set a good time, as a lot of cars seemed to be having problems finding the right path. The stage was really difficult, and that makes this win even more special..."

Gerard de Rooy finished first in the Truck category in his DAF, ahead of overall truck leader Firdaus Kabirov (Kamaz). De Rooy's father, Jan, also in a DAF, finished the stage in third position.

Overall, Kabirov remains ahead of the standings with the day's fifth finisher, Hans Bekx, in second position.

The bikes will rejoin the field on Thurday's stage between Bamako and Kayes. They did not race on Wednesday to mourn the loss of KTM rider, Fabrizio Meoni.