Sébastien Loeb won the final stage of the 2017 Dakar Rally but it was Stephane Peterhansel who took his thirteenth Dakar victory.
Loeb came into the final, a 64km timed section followed by a 700km drive to the finish in Buenos Aires, 5 minutes and 32 behind Peterhansel.
To take this amount of time out in such short space of time was unlikely so the main hope for the nine time World Rally Champion was that a cruel blow would strike his Peugeot team-mate in the final kilometres.
In the end the cruel blow did not materialise and Peterhansel only lost 19 seconds as he romped home to his 13th Dakar victory, breaking his own record for the most Dakar wins.
The Frenchmen has now won more events in cars (seven) than he previously did on the bikes (six) where he forged his reputation as a Dakar legend.
Behind them fellow Frenchmen Cyril Despres secured third place to make it a Peugeot 1-2-3 at the top of the leaderboard.
The best non-Peugeot were the Toyotas of Nani Roma and Giniel de Villiers who finished in fourth and fifth place respectively, with Roma 1 hour and 16 minutes off the leader.
The best of the Minis was that of Orlando Terranova who finished sixth was three minutes off de Villiers.
His team-leader Mikko Hirvonen came home in thirteenth place the consequences of a disastrous stage 10 saw him lose five hours after mechanical problems, punctures and a collision with a truck.
Sam Sunderland became the first ever British winner of the Dakar Rally with a dominating win on the Bikes on his first ever finish on the event.
The KTM rider finished with comfortable 32 minute gap over team-mate Matthias Walkner, thanks to avoiding the trouble that had plagued his previous two attempts.
Behind him Adrien Van Beveren and Gerard Farrés battled for third and finished stage 11 separated by 12 seconds in the Frenchmen Van Beveren’s favour.
However, he then received a minute penalty for speeding which swung the advantage back to Farrés.
The French rider had 48 seconds to make up but his efforts were in vain as both him and his rival ended up with the exact same time of 30 minutes and 29 seconds, giving Farrés the final podium spot.
But the man of the moment was Sunderland who described his success as “Unbelievable.”
“When I crossed the line I felt all the emotion hit me. The weight on my shoulders of the race over the last week, leading the rally has been really heavy.
“It’s the first Dakar I’ve ever finished and to finish first is an incredible feeling. I’m really lost for words.”
In the Trucks , Eduard Nikolaev restored Kamaz to the top of table and took his second victory in South America ahead of teammate Dmitri Sotnikov.
Nikolaev demonstrated his dominance by setting fastest time on the stage 1 minute and 49 seconds quicker than Sotnikov to win by 18 minutes.
Last year’s winner Gerard de Rooy in his Iveco completed the podium coming home 23 minutes behind the Kamaz truckers.
In the Quads category there was more Russian success as Sergey Karyakin completed his dominant performance in the category.
Despite closest rival Ignacio Casale winning the stage, Karyakin’s 1 hour 14 minute gap allowed the Russian to cruise to the finish to pick up a much needed win.
Argentinian rider Pablo Copetti rounded out the podium, finishing 4 hours and 2o minutes behind Karyakin.
In the UTV category Leandro Torres romped home to victory in a successful first year for the discipline which saw all five riders, all Polaris mounted, arrive at the finish.