Stephane Peterhansel believes the quickest driver may not win the Dakar Rally, with the route set to offer a few ‘surprises’, although he is happy to see the event’s path acknowledge the origins of the rally.
The Frenchman, a thirteen-time winner of the Dakar Rally including the past two seasons, will take on the 9000-kilometre challenge with Peugeot for a fourth consecutive season, aiming to help the French manufacturer take victory in what will be their final Dakar Rally before they withdraw from the event.
“I think that this year will be a very difficult rally,” said Peterhansel. “The route gives a nod to the Dakar’s African origins, with plenty of desert, dunes, and perhaps a few surprises on the long sections. Everything seems very open, and it might not even be the quickest driver who wins.
“At the start of this project, I made it my goal to reacquaint Peugeot with success on the Dakar. That objective has been reached, and for my part I feel a little less pressure than previous years, but of course I still really want to win this last Dakar with Peugeot!”
Peugeot has been testing their 3008DKR Maxi thoroughly in recent months, and Peterhansel believes they will be even more competitive than they were twelve months ago, particularly in the sand dunes.
“The car is even more competitive than last year,” said Peterhansel. “It’s wider and easier to control through corners, and it should enable us to perform even better in the dunes.
“We’re all happy with this latest evolution, which we’ve already driven for more than 5000 kilometres in testing: the equivalent stage length of an entire Dakar.”