Despres Glad to Come Through Difficult Day in the Dunes with Dakar Lead


Credit: Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

Cyril Despres secured stage victory and the overall lead of the Dakar Rally during stage two on Sunday, but the Frenchman admitted it was a tough day of navigation amid the large sand dunes of Peru.

Peugeot Sport did not manage to get any of their four drivers into the top ten on the opening day on Saturday, but that all changed on Sunday, with Despres, Stephane Peterhansel and Sebastien Loeb locking out the top three places, while Carlos Sainz Sr. was sixth.

Despres was happy that he was not caught up in the tracks of other cars, and despite it being the first opportunity to run the 3008DKR Maxi in wide-open spaces in competition, it was a great 278-kilometre run for the Frenchman.

“It was a difficult stage as the dunes were quite high, both going up and going down,” said Despres. “There was also some very soft sand: we passed three or four cars that were stuck and we saw a couple of accidents.

“But these are the sort of hazards that you just expect on the Dakar. It’s the first time that our Maxi has come to these wide open, spaces in competition – which you don’t really find in testing – and the car is working very well.

“David [Castera, co-driver] too did a great job with the navigation and wasn’t caught out by all the different tracks from the previous cars. Our strategy seems to be a good one so far, but tomorrow is another day.”