Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel wins the Dakar Rally, his 10th success in the race
Peterhansel finishes nearly 42 minutes ahead of fellow-Mini driver Nani Roma
Cyril Despres makes it a French double by claiming his fourth victory in bike section
Stephane Peterhansel has clinched a remarkable 10th Dakar Rally victory after safely finishing Sunday’s 29km special stage to the Peruvian capital Lima.
The Frenchman only had to avoid mechanical trouble to seal his fourth car triumph, having also won the race six times in the motorcycle category.
And the Mini driver achieved that aim, coming home 10th on the day, three minutes and 12 seconds behind stage winner Robby Gordon in his Hummer.
That result ensured Peterhansel covered the 8,400km-long race from Mar Del Plata in Argentina in a combined time of 38 hours, 54 minutes and 46 seconds.
Team-mate Nani Roma was 41:56 back in second place with South African Toyota driver Ginel De Villiers third at 1.13:25.
Peterhansel told the official Dakar website: “When you think how hard it is to win a Dakar Rally, it’s incredible that I have been able to win 10 of them.
“It’s been a long time, I’ve been waiting for five years to win again! To take the victory in South America is a huge relief, it ranks among my best triumphs.”
He added: “My finest victory will always be my first win in the motorcycle category, but this one has something special to it.
“I was starting to doubt myself, to think I was growing too old for this, that I’d lost it or that I wasn’t made for South America – and in the end everything turned out fine!”
Meanwhile, it proved a French double delight with Cyril Despres claiming the motorcycle category after also completing the final stage unscathed.
Despres was presented victory on Saturday when rival Marc Coma took a wrong turn and he cemented his fourth title after the final stage was won by Dutchman Pal Ullevalseter.
The KTM rider came home 53:20 ahead of Coma, with Yamaha rider Helder Rodrigues of Portugal in third place at 1.11:17.
Despres said: “I always pay attention to detail. I like doing my homework and, in my job, when things go OK you end up winning.
“This is without doubt the toughest Dakar I’ve ever raced in. All victories are beautiful, but this one is special because it came down to the wire and was decided at the last minute.”
He continued: “I’ve done 85 or 90 rallies throughout my life, and this one was the one where I had to fight the hardest. Today will leave its mark on me.”