Peterhansel heads Peugeot Dakar clean sweep
Peugeot’s futuristic 2WD 3008 DKRs dominated this year’s Dakar Rally in South America, event legend Stephane Peterhansel leading home teammates Sebastien Loeb and Cyril Despres to claim a record 13th win and top a podium clean sweep for the French manufacturer.
Dubai-based Brit Sam Sunderland won the bike section from KTM teammate Matthias Walkner while Russian Sergey Karyakin won the Quad class on a Yamaha.
Another Russian, Eduard Nikolaev , won the Truck class for Kamaz, while a Brazilian, Leandro Torres, was the first winner of the UTV class introduced this year behind the wheel of a Polaris.
This year’s Dakar Rally was the 39th and ninth since the threat of terrorist action saw the event moved from Africa to South America.
Though the latest V8-engiened 4WD Toyota Hiluxes of Spaniar Nani Roma and South African Giniel de Villiers finished first and second in class they were no match outright for the purpose-built 2WD Peugeots of Peterhansel, Loeb and Despres, et al.
“We were fighting with six or seven drivers at the beginning of the race and after a while, they were only four. And during the last week, we were only two – just Seb and I. We fought really strongly and I am the winner in the end – but it’s a small detail. I probably won the Dakar on Friday when Seb got a puncture. This is the victory of experience, ”Peterhansel told reporters after the podium ceremony.
“Obviously we’re a little bit disappointed,” said Toyota man Giniel De Villiers, “but you have to give big congratulations to Peugeot because they deserve their success. We didn’t quite have the pace so maybe we have to switch to two-wheel drive in future to compete with them. All in all it was a very tough Dakar with plenty of navigation which is good.”
This year’s Dakar event covered nearly 9,000km and more than 4000km of special stages (13) starting from Asuncion in Paraguay and travelling through Bolivia and Argentine before a ceremonial finish in Buenos Aires.
It started on Monday January 02 and finished on Saturday January 14, attracting 491 competitors in (or on) 316 race vehicles.