Cyril Despres admitted that finishing third in the 2017 Dakar Rally is nothing to be ashamed of, especially when those ahead of him are both legendary names in the world of rallying.
In just his third attack of Dakar in a car after switching from bikes where he won the event five times, Despres finished third, 33 minutes and 28 seconds behind Peugeot team-mate Stephane Peterhansel who took outright victory, while Sebastien Loeb ended second to ensure the French marquee clinched a lock out of the podium.
It was the first time that Despres climbed onto the podium in the car category, but the Frenchman admits that he still has things to learn if he is to be a genuine contender for victory in future years.
“For us, finishing on the Dakar podium for the first time on four wheels feels like the start of a new chapter in our careers,” said Despres. “Everyone in the team worked so hard all year-long and I am on the podium after only my third attempt at the Dakar in a car.
“That’s due in part to the great car I had. It ran perfectly and the drivers who finished ahead of us were none other than Stéphane Peterhansel and Sébastien Loeb, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of there!
“I need to keep working to be even faster on all the different types of terrain if I want to climb one or two places on the podium. David [Castera, co-driver] and I intend to put in whatever work is necessary to achieve that!”