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 on Saturday.
The Team Peugeot Total driver, who has won the prestigious event in the bikes and car categories, drove conservatively in Saturday’s final stage, which was won by team mate Sebastien Loeb.
KTM’s Toby Price became the first Australian to capture the bikes title with almost 40 minutes between him and second-placed team mate Stefan Svitko.
Frenchman Peterhansel finished over seven minutes behind Loeb in the final stage between Villa Carlos Paz and Rosario.
Loeb, driving in his first Dakar after nine World Rally championships, won the stage by over a minute from Mini’s Mikko Hirvonen.
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.”
It was Peugeot’s first victory in the Dakar since 1990.
But while Peterhansel celebrated his 12th career win, Price was even more taken aback by his maiden win.
The 28-year-old from New South Wales finished fourth in the final stage, but won overall by 39 minutes 41 seconds from Svitko.
“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.”
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)