Thirty years after its initial Dakar Rally success in 1987, Peugeot provided another demonstration of its know-how with an assertive one-two-three finish on this year’s event in South America. Peterhansel/Cottret, the most successful crew in the event’s history, flew the French tricolour high and proud as they steered their Peugeot 3008DKR over this year’s challenging route which included high-altitude running, tougher navigation and appalling weather. The 2017 rally turned out to be a close, drama-packed affair with numerous leader changes and exceptionally small gaps at the order’s sharp end from start to finish.
Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret produced a near-perfect run this time round to clock up their seventh success together, allowing the latter to register a new record for co-driver victories. Stéphane Peterhansel has taken his personal tally of Dakar Rally wins to 13 in total (six on two wheels, seven on four wheels).
Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena demonstrated impressive progress on only their second Dakar Rally outing. In addition to emerging as the fastest crew of the fortnight, they combined shrewd pace management with strong navigational skills. Their chances of victory took a blow on Day 4, however, when an engine issue cost them 26 minutes, proving cruelly decisive in the final reckoning. The pair ended up second overall for the second year running and posted the highest number of fastest stage times (five from 10).
After coming seventh overall in 2016, Cyril Despres and David Castera shared the Dakar Rally’s podium celebrations for the first time on four wheels after previously securing five and three bike victories respectively. The crew of the N°307 Peugeot 3008DKR also recorded their first fastest time in the car category and even appeared at the top of the provisional leader board on the evening of Day 4 after one of the 2017 event’s most selective stages, hinting that there’s still plenty more to come from the French pair.
After providing further evidence of their speed, Sainz/Cruz were in the process of easing into the provisional lead when they were unfortunately eliminated. Damage sustained by the N°304 car in a series of rolls on Stage 4 proved too much for the mechanics to repair within the authorised time and the Spaniards were forced to hand in their timecard at the bivouac in Tupiza.
The Peugeot 3008DKR successfully took over the baton from last year’s winning car – the Peugeot 2008DKR – to make an immediate mark on the world’s toughest cross-country rally. In spite of unfavourable changes to the regulations (bigger air restrictor), work on the car’s engine and suspension in recent months paid big dividends. At the same time, the switch to a body shape derived from that of the Peugeot 3008 SUV permitted an aerodynamic package which favoured high top speeds.
Team Peugeot Total’s one-two-three finish on the 2017 event is the latest in a long list of Dakar Rally successes for the brand. It is Peugeot’s sixth overall victory and its second podium lockout from seven participations.
Peugeot’s Dakar record:
1987: 1 st, Vatanen/Giroux (205 T16 Grand Raid)
1988: 1 st, Kankkunen/Piironen (205 T16 Grand Raid)
1989: 1 st and 2nd, Vatanen/Berglund (405 T16 Grand Raid) and Ickx/Tarin (405 T16 Grand Raid)
1990: 1 st, 2nd and 3rd, Vatanen/Berglund (405 T16 Grand Raid), Waldegard/Fenouil (405 T16 Grand Raid) and Ambrosino/Baumgartner (205 T16 Grand Raid)
2016: 1 st, Peterhansel/Cottret (2008DKR)
2017: 1 st, 2nd and 3rd, Peterhansel/Cottret, Loeb/Elena and Despres/Castera (3008DKR)
2017 Dakar Rally Statistics
Countries visited: Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.
Total distance covered: 8, 823km (12 legs), including 4093km divided into 10 stages.
Stage victories: nine for the Peugeot 3008DKR out of 10 stages contested. Loeb/Elena: 5 (Stages 2, 5, 8, 11 and 12) / Peterhansel/Cottret: 3 (Stages 3, 7 and 11) / Despres/Castera: 1 (Stage 4).
Leaders: Loeb/Elena (after Legs 2, 3 et 8), Despres/Castera (after Leg 4), Peterhansel/Cottret (after Legs 5, 7, 10, 11 and 12).
Top Speed: 203kph (Stage 2).
Maximum Temperature: 45°C (Leg 2).
Classification – Leg 12:
1.LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MON), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, 28m55s
2.PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET J-P. (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR , +00m19s
3.DE VILLIERS Giniel (ZAF) / VON ZITZEWITZ Dirk (ZAF), Toyota Hilux, +00m30s
4.DESPRES Cyril (FRA) / David CASTERA (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, + 00m53s
5.RAUTENBACH Conrad (ZWE) / HOWIE Robert (ZWE), Toyota, + 1m00s
Dakar 2017 Final overall positions:
1.PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET J-P. (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR , 28h 49m30s
2.LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MON), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +05 m13s
3.DESPRES Cyril (FRA) / David CASTERA (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +33m28s
4.ROMA Nani (ESP) / HARO Bravo (ESP), Toyota Hilux, +1h16m43s
5.DE VILLIERS Giniel (ZAF) / VON ZITZEWITZ Dirk (ZAF), Toyota Hilux, +1h49m48s
Image: Red Bull Content Pool