Spanish driver Carlos Sainz wins second Dakar Rally title
23 January, 2018, 02:38 | Author: Larry Hoffman
French driving great and seven-time DakarRally auto champion Stephane Peterhansel (Peugeot) is in jeopardy of missing out on a podium spot this year after suffering mechanical problems in the penultimate stage. In the decade since the event moved from North Africa to South America, Volkswagen took three back-to-back victories, then Mini took four, and now Peugeot has claimed its third trophy in a row.
Nasser Al-Attiyah was happy to finish an extremely challenging Dakar Rally in second place, with the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA driver ending forty-three minutes and forty seconds behind rally victor Carlos Sainz Sr. "I needed this victory", Sainz said.
South African Giniel de Villiers won the 74-mile final stage in Cordoba. The Frenchman, known as "Mr. Dakar" for his 13 victories in different categories of the rally, finished fourth overall.
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Two points later, however, the Briton clenched his fist in celebration as a thumping forehand victor put him level at 2-2. Two more break points went begging for Edmund at 3-2 but he finally broke through for 5-3 when Seppi netted a backhand.
Austrian rider Matthias Walkner won the bikes category in the KTM 450 - the same essential model that has won eight years running, from the same manufacturer that has won every year since 2001.
Peterhansel, who holds the record for most Dakar titles in the both the auto (seven) and bike (six) categories, has dropped to fifth place in this year's event, 1:31:49 behind Sainz. "It's probably been the most hard Dakar that I've ever taken part in, even counting the ones in Africa", he said, adding: "The Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi is probably the best auto I have ever driven on rally raids".
After 14 days of competition Sainz took victory coming in some 43min 40secs ahead of his nearest rival Nasser Al Attiyah of Qatar in a Toyota 4x4. The British rider crashed in the desert while leading.
In this year's Dakar, Sainz's Peugeot - based on the award-winning 3008 SUV, the current European Car of the Year - covered 5,495 miles over some of the harshest territory imaginable in Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.
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