Stephane Peterhansel celebrated his thirteenth Dakar Rally victory on Saturday, with the Frenchman praising his Peugeot 3008DKR machine for being exceptional throughout the event.
Despite seeing team-mate Sebastien Loeb take the final stage win, Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret eased to overall victory by 5 minutes and 13 seconds to lead a Peugeot 1-2-3, with Cyril Despres completing the podium.
This was Peterhansel’s seventh Dakar victory on four wheels after previously taking six on bikes, while Cottret now has the record for the amount of wins taken by a co-driver, sharing each of his drivers triumphs.
Peterhansel admitted his duel with Loeb up front was both intense and stressful, whilst also a lot of fun, and he was happy that Team Manager Bruno Famin did not enforce team orders so they could both race for overall victory.
“This is a superb win for Peugeot and I was delighted to have such an exceptional car,” said Peterhansel. “I was also glad that Bruno Famin didn’t issue any team orders. It was an open fight all the way to the finish.
“We faced stiff competition, not only from our own team-mates, with three other strong drivers in the squad, but also from the other teams. It didn’t take long for an initial hierarchy to emerge, though, and soon there were just four, then two drivers challenging for the victory.
“My duel with Sébastien was intense and also quite stressful. At the same time, we had tremendous fun driving. It was never easy because Sébastien is a proven champion and extremely fast, and he has plenty of experience of managing from in front, so it was never straightforward for us, as can be seen by the small gap that separated us at the finish.”