Stephane Peterhansel secured his first stage victory of the 2018 Dakar Rally on Wednesday, as he and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret extended their overall lead to over thirty minutes.
Although they won the 266-kilometre stage between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa by four minutes and fifty-two seconds from Bernhard ten Brinke, the Peugeot Sport driver admitted it was far from a straightforward day in the sand dunes, with time lost due to a tyre issue and more from a navigation error that could have seen him win the stage more comfortably.
However, Peterhansel says it could have been much worse, particularly as team-mates Cyril Despres and Sebastien Loeb have had bad days in the dunes, with the former now running at the back of the field following issues on Tuesday, while the latter retired on Wednesday after crashing into a hole, with the impact injuring co-driver Daniel Elena.
“I didn’t do a bad job today, that’s for sure, but it was not a perfect stage for us either,” said Peterhansel, who now leads team-mate Carlos Sainz Sr. by thirty-one minutes and sixteen seconds after five stages. “We lost tyre pressure and the tyre came off the rim so we had to stop and we lost a few minutes.
“We also made a navigation error at the end of the stage. We could not find a waypoint, and lost more than two minutes. So it was not perfect, but compared to others it was not so bad.
“I’m really disappointed for my friend Cyril, and for Sébastien and Daniel. But this is motorsport, this is the Dakar…”