AN IMPRESSIVE RECORD
Throughout the first six days of the rally, the Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi has demonstrated its full potential by winning four stages (SS2 with Despres/Castera, SS4 with Loeb/Elena, SS5 with Peterhansel/Cottret, SS6 with Sainz/Cruz) and claiming three one-twos (SS2, SS4 and SS6) including two podium lockouts (SS2 and SS4). The ‘dream team’ has been leading the rally since SS2.
AT THE FOREFRONT
The experienced duo of Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret has got through the first part of the rally with impressive consistency. Having been in the top three on five of the six stages run up to now, they took the lead on SS3 and have never lost it since. They now lead with a cushion of 27 minutes over their team mates.
STEP BY STEP
After suffering a delay on the opening day, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz have fought back impressively throughout the week, ending it on a high by winning SS6. They have benefitted from a PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi that has been entirely reliable, and the Spanish duo is now in a strong second place in the overall classification, with a 53-minute advantage over the third-placed crew.
STOPPED IN THEIR TRACKS
The first Team PEUGEOT Total crew to have taken the lead (at the end of day two) was Cyril Despres/David Castera, who drove a fantastic rally right up to the point when their PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi hit a loose rock at kilometre 180 on SS4, breaking the right-rear axle. This incident caused them to drop a lot of time on the stage and pick up several hours of road penalties that ended their hopes of victory. The two former bikers are carrying on resolutely however, ready to provide assistance to their team mates if needed.
BAD LUCK STRIKES
Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena were forced to retire after SS5 between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa. Their PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi fell into a hole on a dune and the impact caused Daniel Elena to sustain a fracture of the coccyx, which meant that it was impossible for him to continue. At the start of the stage, the duo was second overall. The night before they had convincingly won SS4, which crossed one of the sandiest sections ever seen on the South American Dakar.
AN INAPPROPRIATELY-NAMED ‘REST DAY’
Although it’s called the ‘rest day’, Friday will in fact be a day of intense activity for Team PEUGEOT Total. The mechanics will make use of the day to completely rebuild the three
PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi cars that are still in the race. This meticulous work will be more vital than ever, as Saturday and Sunday will be the marathon stage: with no service at the end of the day.
STILL A LONG WAY TO GO
This year, the rest day takes place not halfway through the action but after only six of the 14 legs on the 2018 Dakar schedule. Although 1463 competitive kilometres have already been covered, there are still 2826 stage kilometres to go: in other words, 66% of the total competitive route.
ALL THE NUMBERS FROM THIS WEEK
195.9 kph (Despres/Castera, SS3)
195.7 kph (Sainz/Cruz, SS3)
195.3 kph (Peterhansel/Cottret, SS3)
194.7 kph (Loeb/Elena, SS3)
Average maximum speed: 108 km/h (stage six, Sainz/Cruz)
Highest ambient temperature: 32° (SS3)
Lowest ambient temperature: 6° (SS6)
Maximum altitude: 4732 metres (SS6)
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 6
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) / Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, 16 h 25 min2s
2. Carlos Sainz (ESP) / Lucas Cruz (ESP), PEUGEOT 3008 DKR Maxi, +27min10s
3. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NLD) / Michel Perin (FRA), Toyota 4WD, + 1 h 20min41s
4. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT) / Matthieu Baumel (FRA), Toyota 4WD, + 1 h 24min20s
5. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) / Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZAF), Toyota 4WD, + 1h35min59s
6. Jakub Przygonski (POL) / Tom Colsoul (BEL), Mini 4WD, + 2h 25min16s
7. Martin Prokop (CZE) / Jan Tomanek (CZE), Ford 4WD, + 2 h 25 min52s
8. Khalid Al Qassimi (ARE) / Xavier Panseri (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, +2 h 29min6s
9. Eugenio Amos (ITA) / Sébastien Delaunay (FRA), Ford 2WD, + 2 h 30min58s
10. Patrick Sireyjol (FRA) / François-Xavier Béguin (BEL), Buggy 2WD, +3 h 25min35s
45. Cyril Despres (FRA) / David Castera (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, + 41 h 32min41s
Bruno FAMIN, PEUGEOT SPORT Director, Team Manager PEUGEOT Total
“We are in a positive position after the first part of the rally, even if it is different to what we expected before the start. We thought we would be hunting Nasser Al Attiyah with our four cars. Instead, we find ourselves with two PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxis comfortably ahead and our three main rivals behind us. Of course, it is always better to be in the lead but with only two cars left in the running for victory and two thirds of the race still to come, we cannot be relaxed yet. There are always risks in rally raids and especially on this 2018 Dakar!”
Stéphane PETERHANSEL (PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi n°300)
“We can draw a positive conclusion from these first six stages. We’ve had quite a clean and straightforward week up to now. Our best day was Wednesday, when we won SS5. We’re obviously very happy. Having said that, we’ve only covered a third of the rally in terms of competitive distance. And we know that in places like Belen and Fiambala, there are still some very complicated stages to come. Anything can still happen as there is a big variety of stages in store. There have been plenty of dunes up to now and that has worked well for us, to be honest. Now we’re in Bolivia, we’re going to be faced with different types of stages.”
Carlos SAINZ (PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi n°303)
“The first week has been quite tricky. Maybe a little bit too tricky, especially for the amateur drivers, who have really struggled. Nonetheless, I’m happy with second place and to have won a stage yesterday. It’s still possible to fight for victory. The PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi has been very competitive. With the marathon stage starting on Saturday, and Belen and Fiambala still to come, anything can happen. My goal, first and foremost, is to bring the car home safely to bivouac every night.”
Cyril DESPRES (PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi n°308)
“We had a good start to the week. We took the first stage win for a PEUGEOT 3008DKR on the rally and we were leading overall. The thought of tackling a really long and tough Dakar, with plenty of off-road driving, filled us with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, we were cut off in our prime. In 17 years of rally raids on a bike, I’ve never hit a rock: I know the damage that they can do. So, I just try to avoid them always. This was a rock that you couldn’t see and we hit it in the wrong place. My own fight for victory ended right there. But PEUGEOT has given me so much since I started on four wheels, so we obviously did everything possible to get the car back to the bivouac. This is the biggest test of character that I’ve ever experienced in rally raids. David and I put a lot of energy into this year’s race. But we’re still going and that’s what counts. There are only two of the four PEUGEOT cars in contention for the win now and we’re ready to be loyal Sherpas to help our team mates.”
The PSA Group has planned to launch 16 new models onto the Latin American market between now and 2021, including several new utility vehicles.
DAY 7 (SATURDAY 13 JANUARY): LA PAZ > UYUNI. 726 KM INCLUDING 425 KM OF SPECIAL STAGES
The competitors will undertake a long day of driving as the marathon stage begins, at the end of which they won’t be able to rely on their service crews at the bivouac in Uyuni. This intense special stage will include 60 kilometres of Bolivian dunes and desert.