PETERHANSEL TO SACRIFICE FOR LOEB
Photos: Red Bull Content Pool, mcklein-imagedatabase.com Twelve-time winner ready to give up victory shot to help Loeb win
Multiple Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel is ready to sacrifice his own chances of a 13th win on the classic event to help Peugeot and team-mate Sebastien Loeb.
Peterhansel earned his sixth win in a car at Dakar earlier this year to match his six on a bike, but says now the time has come to help Loeb, who he describes as “probably the best driver in the world”.
“We know that Sebastien is the future of Peugeot in the Dakar,” he said. “We will try to help him, I can drive like a shadow for him in the future, I don’t mind.
“I will do everything what I can to help him win. Seb and Daniel [Elena] have the capacity to win Dakar really quickly.”
Peterhansel, 50, was impressed with Loeb’s speed in the first half of the Dakar, but added that experience would help him on his second attempt next year.
“Loeb can win Dakar,” he said. “He can learn very quickly. He made some mistakes this year, but he is really intelligent and he won’t make the same mistakes again next season. He’s in a really good team, with good team-mates: Cyril Despres, Carlos [Sainz] and me – he will learn from us really quickly.”
Asked how much longer he would compete at the highest level of cross-country rallying, Peterhansel said: “I will definitely do next season, but will I be here in five years? No. I don’t know how long to stay; Carlos [Sainz] is a couple of years older than me, but look at him this year – he was so quick! Now, I don’t need to win again. I can drive completely for the team.”
Loeb was leading this year’s Dakar until the eighth stage when he rolled his 2008 DKR, giving Peterhansel a two-minute lead.