It doesn’t matter if Stephane Peterhansel started competing in the mid-eighties of the last century, or if he has already turned 55, or if his co-pilot was a rookie (Edouard Boulanger). It didn’t matter that he couldn’t have his wife as his navigator as he would have wished, perhaps so that they could bid farewell to the rally together.
At the same time, the new and complex electronic roadbook, which has been the downfall of others like Carlos Sainz, has been no issue for the Frenchman. When the rally goes back to being the toughest in the world, nothing and no one can match the legend from Échenoz-la-Méline.
This year’s race director, David Castera, wanted the mythical raid to go back to its roots recovering the toughest conditions and extreme navigation difficulty.
It is under those conditions that the Frenchman has once again demonstrated (four years after his last triumph with Peugeot) that he has no rivals when the route is very challenging.
Stephane Peterhansel (MINI X-raid Team) has claimed the 43rd edition of the Dakar Rally which concluded this Friday, January 15 in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) with the twelfth and last stage. This is the second consecutive year that the Dakar is held in the Arabian country.
This is Peterhansel’s 14th Dakar trophy, coinciding with the thirtieth anniversary of his first triumph in motorcycles. In total, he has had eight wins in cars and six on two wheels.
What better way to celebrate that anniversary than to further expanding his legend. There are not many adjectives left to describe one of the greatest figures of Motorsport, a true king of the desert.
Monsieur Dakar has taken the win after finishing third in the twelfth special which was won by his teammate and reigning champ Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard and his co-pilot Lucas Cruz, for whom the new electronic roadbook has been their Achilles heel, finished third in the standings with three partial victories.
The navigation errors of the Spanish pair have prevented them from entering the title race and they have finished over an hour behind the winner overall. In the end, Nasser Al-Attiyah wedged himself between the two MINIs in the final standings.
The Qatari from Toyota has achieved more partial victories than any other contestant. The numerous punctures he suffered, however, made him lose some very precious time ultimately robbing him of his fourth crown in the desert.
Peterhansel: A very few mistakes
Giving a strategy and driving masterclass onboard his John Cooper Works Buggy, Monsieur Dakar defeated his two greatest rivals: his MINI teammate, the Spanish Carlos Sainz, and Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah.
The experience, quality and strength of a natural-born competitor who is able to interpret the test like no one else, has once again conquered the rally. After a not particularly spectacular, but very effective performance, he has confidently crushed his two main opponents.
Peterhansel success spree started with six motorcycle crowns with Yamaha between 1991 and 1998.
Then he conquered the glory in the cars category after winning three titles in a row with Mitsubishi (2004-2007), two with MINI (2012, 2013), two with Peugeot (2016 and 2017) and now a third one with MINI (2021).
Images of Stephane Petehansel: Xraid Team.