Despite getting ‘slightly lost’ twice during the third stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally, Stephane Peterhansel claimed the overall lead of the event, finishing second on the day, just over four minutes down on Nasser Al-Attiyah.
The Frenchman, a thirteen-time Dakar winner and the defending champion, took over at the lead of the rally after Peugeot Sport team-mate Cyril Despres, the overnight leader heading into the 296-kilometre stage between Pisco and San Juan de Marcona, lost three minutes and thirty-eight seconds to Peterhansel.
Peterhansel continues to put consistency at the top of his agenda, and admitted he was trying to limit the risks on the stage, and now heads the field despite not winning any of the opening three stages, has a three minute and eleven second advantage over Despres heading into Tuesday’s fourth stage.
“It was another very nice stage that was typical of rally raids, with big dunes, lots of off-road driving, and a few bits of fesh-fesh,” said Peterhansel. “It was a bit easier than yesterday as we had the tracks from the bike riders in front of us, which were obviously helpful in terms of navigation.
“We got slightly lost twice, once because we got confused with the road book, and once because of my fault, when I decided to follow a bike rider: they’re not always right!
“I wouldn’t say that we were driving safely today, but we were certainly trying to minimise the risks. Now we’re in the lead, and I think that’s what consistency brings you, so it’s not a bad idea so far.
“All the top drivers are still in the fight: as Peugeot drivers we have to stay together and stay strong.”