In his first Dakar, Cornel de Villiers has taken the lead in his class and remains one of the few remaining riders in the competition.

In his first Dakar, Cornel de Villiers has taken the lead in his class and remains one of the few remaining riders in the competition.

De Villiers (not related to Giniel de Villiers, also competing in this year's Dakar) first took the lead in Europe. Since then he has won all the stages in the Experimental Category (the class in which the quad riders participate) in Africa on his Bombardier DS650 quad.

Because of the privateer's budget constraints, de Villiers tackled the Dakar with no service crew on his sponsored quad. After his teammate, Johan Steenkamp, crashed out on the seventh Special Stage, he was the only South African quad rider left. He and Dakar veteran Alfie Cox are the only two motorcycle riders from South Africa still heading towards the Senegalese finish.

De Villiers took the overall lead when the Dakar continued in Africa and has only lost this lead once. Since then he kept and strengthened his lead and currently is ahead of the only other quad rider who finished Friday's stage, Marek Podlipny, on his Yamaha.

Today the competitors will travel 88km to the start of the 213km Special Stage that starts at Bobo-Dioulasso and another 365km to the overnight point at Bamako. Competitors will cover a total of 666km as the fast track moves through tropical forest, with some large obstacles said to be littering the special section.