Rosario (Argentina), Jan 17 (IANS) Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel won his 12th Dakar Rally after avoiding trouble in the final stage in Argentina.
The 50-year-old gave Peugeot their first triumph in the offroad race since 1990 by finishing 35 minutes ahead of 2015 champion Nasser Al-Attiyah on Saturday. South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers was an hour off the pace in third, reports Xinhua.
The victory was Peterhansel’s fifth in the Dakar Rally’s car category, all of which have been alongside co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret. He has also won seven titles in the motorbike division.
“It’s extraordinary. The pressure was very high but we came through,” Peterhansel said. Crossing the finish line was a release after the extremely stressful last three days.”
“Some of my wins count more than others, but this one’s definitely in the top three. One thing’s for sure, getting the same number of victories on a bike and in a car was the last big goal in my career. Now that it’s done, I don’t think there are many things left to motivate me.”
Saturday’s 180 kilometre 13th stage from Villa Carlos Paz to Rosario was won by Peugeot’s nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb. Mikko Hirvonen was a minute behind in second place.
Australian Toby Price clinched the motorbike title by finishing 40 minutes ahead of KTM colleague Stefan Svitko of Slovakia. Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla, who won the last stage, was third.
“Being the first Australian to win the Dakar is just insane,” said Price, who was competing in the race for just a second time.
“I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to think. I’m in shock. This is incredible for my family, my friends and my fans back in Australia. Finishing the rally is already a triumph. Winning it is amazing.”