Gev Teddy Sella, an Israeli teenager living in South Africa, surprised the world of motorsports by winning first place in the 2017 Africa Eco Rally, a 12-stage, 6,500-kilometer (4,038-mile) desert marathon.

Contestants began the first stage on January 2 in Morocco, speeding on to Mauritania and finally ending on January 14 in Senegal.

Israeli citizen Gev Teddy Sella, no. 128 in the 2017 Africa Eco Rally. Photo via Facebook
Israeli citizen Gev Teddy Sella, no. 128 in the 2017 Africa Eco Rally. Photo via Facebook

 

It was Sella’s first appearance in the rally, which has been won by Norwegian Pål Anders Ullevålseter the past two years.

Sella, who will celebrate his 18th birthday next week and plans to return to Israel for his military service, took the lead at the beginning of the race and maintained it for most of the time.

In a Facebook post in Hebrew, Sella thanked his parents for seeing him through the rally, which he finished without any serious mistakes.

At the end of the race, Sella told Ynet, “The excitement is huge, it’s unbelievable. It’s going to take me a long time to digest it.”