Stephane Peterhansel cemented his place in the Dakar Rally’s Hall of Fame with a stunning 12th victory in the world’s toughest rally raid event. The Team Peugeot Total driver, who has won the prestigious event in the bikes and car categories, drove conservatively on the final day to clinch first place. Peterhansel finished over seven minutes behind Sébastien Loeb in the final stage between Villa Carlos Paz and Rosario.
But it was Peterhansel who was the most relieved to cross the finishing line and add more success to his storied Dakar career.
“It’s extraordinary. The pressure was very high, but we came through,’ said the 50-year-old. ‘Crossing the finish line was a release after the extremely stressful last three days. I’m also delighted to write a new page in the history of Peugeot because the guys in the team have been working their socks off for two years.”
Peterhansel took the victory ahead of last year’s winner Nasser Al-Attiyah in the an X-raid Mini. Giniel de Villiers landed in third with his Toyota. Peterhansel’s victory gave Peugeot its first class win at Dakar since 1990. Loeb, also driving for Peugeot, finished strong after finding it difficult to adapt from rally-style racing to the unforgiving nature of sand dunes, and we doubt this will be the last time he turns a wheel at Dakar.
KTM’s Toby Price became the first Australian to capture the bikes title with almost 40 minutes between him and second-place. The 28-year-old from New South Wales said “I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to think… I’m in shock, I never would’ve thought I could win this race in my second participation. This is incredible for my family, my friends and my fans back in Australia!
“Winning in my second participation is awesome, but being the first Australian to win the Dakar is just insane. I would’ve never imagined this two years ago. Finishing the rally is already a triumph.”
It was Price’s second attempt at the grueling off-road race, and only his first with official factory support. While victory at Dakar is a new sensation for Price, it was KTM’s 15th consecutive win. Stefan Svitko, also aboard a KTM, came in second. Rockstar Husqvarna‘s Pablo Quintanilla rounded out the two-wheeled podium.
2016 Dakar Overall Ranking
1. Peterhansel / 2. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / 3. De Villiers (ZAF)
1. Price (AUS) / 2. Svitko (SVK) / 3. Quintanilla (CHL)
1. Patronelli (ARG) / 2. Patronelli (ARG) / 3. Baragwanath (ZAF)
1. De Rooy (NLD) / 2. Mardeev (RUS) / 3. Villagra (ARG)