Stephane Peterhansel has secured the 2012 Dakar Rally win by safely completing the short final stage between Pisco and Lima this morning (Australian time).
The result marks the 10th success of Peterhansel’s Dakar career, and the first since the event moved from Africa to South America in 2009.
The Frenchman was 10th fastest through the final stage, resulting in a final margin back to team-mate Nani Roma of 41:56s in the overall standings.
Giniel de Villiers confirmed his impressive third place overall finish in the Imperial Toyota, ahead of Lenoid Novitskiy and final stage winner Robby Gordon.
“When you think of how hard it is to win a Dakar, it’s incredible that I’ve been able to win ten of them,” said Peterhansel after Stage 14.
“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.
“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.”
In the Moto division, Cyril Despres furthered his own legend by taking the fourth Dakar win of his career.
Despres mirrored his countryman’s performance of finishing 10th on the final stage, with the KTM rider able to take it easy across the final kilometres following the mechanical issues that struck arch rival Marc Coma on Saturday.
“All victories are beautiful, but this one is special because it came down to the wire and was decided at the last minute,” said Despres.
“This was an unimaginable scenario, with the leaders separated by mere seconds. I’ve done 90 or 85 rallies throughout my life, and this one was the one where I had to fight the hardest. Today will leave its mark on me.”
Helder Rodrigues, Jordi Viladoms and Stefan Svitko filled third through fifth in the overall standings, ahead of Stage 14 winner Pal Anders Ullevalsetter.
Dean Nuttall ended the rally as the top Australian in 40th, while David Schwarz (43rd) and Jamie Chittick (54th) also making it to the finish.
It was also an historic day in the Truck category, with Gerard de Rooy taking victory 25 years after his father Jan achieved the same feat. The Dutchman finished the rally 51:19s ahead of second placed man Hans Stacey. The two Iveco runners enjoyed a stranglehold over the top two places following Aleš Loprais’s crash on Stage 9.
In the Quad class, it was the Argentineans that ruled the roost, with Alejandro Patronelli scoring his second consecutive overall victory. The final gap back to brother Marcos stood at 1:21:17s, while fellow countryman Tomas Maffei was almost an hour further adrift in third.
OVERALL STANDINGS : Autos – FINAL
|3||De Villiers (ZAF)||Toyota||+1:13:25|
|7||Sousa (PRT)||Great Wall||+4:30:24|
|8||Leal Dos Santos (PRT)||Mini||+5:03:18|
|9||Ten Brinke (NLD)||Mitsubishi||+5:11:18|
|50||Olholm (AUS)||Desert Warrior||+15:46:28|
OVERALL STANDINGS : Motos – FINAL
|7||Farres Guell (ESP)||KTM||+2:14:22|