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Giniel de Villiers makes big strides in Dakar

Giniel de Villiers finished in eighth and has now moved up to third overall.

Toyota Imperial driver Giniel de Villiers finished in eighth and has now moved up to third overall. Picture: AFP

DAKAR - The Imperial Toyota team finished the shortened stage seven in eighth place, well behind Carlos Sainz, who went ahead to win stage seven followed by Nasser Al- Attiyah at the 2014 Dakar Rally.

The overall leader in the car category is still Nani Roma.

Chief engineer Michael Jardim said the altitude failed some of the drivers.

"Giniel went well considering the high altitude. We were averaging a stage of 3,500 meters and obviously the turbo cars have a bigger advantage over us.

Thomas Rundle and Juan Mohr came in 15th and they are now 19th overall with Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie in 30th overall.

Riaan van Niekerk is in 11th position and 13th overall. The bikes are still led by Marc Coma.

Orlando Terranova was penalised for knocking over a biker and that gave way for other drivers to advance.

Sunday saw the cars tackle 533 kilometres of special stage while the bikes had to deal with 409 kilometres.

The megaloop means the competitors will remain in Salta while driving at an average altitude of almost 3,500 metres.

To make matters more interesting the cars were expected to end things off by crossing a vast salt flat which will ensure high speeds and stunning views.