Today’s thrilling stage saw Team Peugeot Total’s Peterhansel/Cottret and Loeb/Elena engage in a breath-taking clash which saw them complete the leg’s 292 competitive kilometres split by just 18 seconds. With only one day remaining, Peterhansel/Cottret are in a strong position to win the 2017 Dakar Rally thanks to an overnight cushion of 5m32s over Loeb/Elena.
♦ There was always a strong possibility that Leg 11 of the 2017 Dakar Rally would prove decisive ahead of Saturday’s short competitive burst, and the expected battle lived up every bit to its promise. The two Team Peugeot Total crews involved in the final run-in for this year’s victory gave it everything they had at the wheel of their respective PEUGEOT 3008DKRs. Loeb/Elena began by making up almost half of their overnight deficit, but their bid was seriously dented when they were forced to stop and change a wheel after picking up a puncture through the first corner of the second part of the stage.
♦ In addition to securing Team Peugeot Total’s fifth one-two finish of the 2017 Dakar Rally (including three one-two-three finishes), second place for Peterhansel/Cottret on today’s test – just 18 seconds short of Loeb/Elena – has put them in an enviable position at the top of tonight’s leaderboard, 5m32s clear of their Franco-Monegasque team-mates.
♦ With little to play for, Despres/Castera produced a perfectly paced, risk-free run. Their cautious drive in the N°307 PEUGEOT 3008DKR allowed them to defend their third place in the provisional overall standings.
TYPE OF TERRAIN: dunes for the first 50 kilometres, followed by WRC-style tracks.
TEMPERATURE: between 20°C and 36°C
AVERAGE SPEED: 95kph
TOP SPEED: 193kph
CLASSIFICATION – LEG 11:
1. LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MON), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, 3 h 21 min 15 sec
2. PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET J-P. (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR , + 00 min 18 sec
3. TERRANOVA Orlando (ARG) / SCHULZ Andreas, Mini, + 06 min 37 sec
4. DE VILLIERS Giniel (ZAF) / VON ZITZEWITZ Dirk (ZAF), Toyota Hilux, + 07 min 01 sec
5. AL RAHJI Yazeed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (GER), Mini, + 07 min 25 sec
7 . DESPRES Cyril (FRA) / David CASTERA (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, + 07 min 32 sec
PROVISIONAL STANDINGS AFTER LEG 11:
1. PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) /COTTRET J-P. (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR , 28 h 20 min 16 sec
2. LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MON), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, + 05 min 32
3. DESPRES Cyril (FRA) / David CASTERA (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, + 32 min 54 sec
4. DE VILLIERS Giniel (ZAF) / VON ZITZEWITZ Dirk (ZAF), Toyota Hilux, + 1 h 49 min 37 sec
5. TERRANOVA Orlando (ARG) / SCHULZ Andreas, Mini, + 1 h 51 min 40 sec
“Today was the last real stage of the 2017 Dakar Rally and there was always a chance that a lot could happen. It turned out to be a breath-taking day and the first positive is that our three cars all reached the finish. Sébastien and Stéphane engaged in a superb duel which essentially ended when Sébastien picked up a puncture. He was at maximum attack and it looked at one point like he might succeed in making up his overnight gap of 5m50s. That didn’t happen, but the main thing for the team is that our three cars are still sitting first, second and third overall. Cyril settled into a pace that suited his position. With little at stake for him, the important thing was to make sure he reached the finish.”
Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 3008DKR #309)
Vainqueur de l’étape / 2e au général
“Our day started well. We were aware that the terrain was favourable to us and we pushed hard in order to try to close the gap to Stéphane. We lost our advantage when we punctured through the first corner of the second part of the stage. It was so frustrating! We kept pushing and completed the stage in Stéphane’s dust. The aim after that was to avoid taking any risks and make sure we got the car to the finish.”
Stéphane Peterhansel (PEUGEOT 3008DKR #300)
2e de l’étape / 1er au général
“Our fight with Sébastien today was extremely close. We lost some of our lead during the first part of the stage but Sébastien’s puncture at the beginning of the second section allowed us to make up most of the ground we had lost. The last stage of the rally tomorrow is quite short. We will work on our strategy this evening. Anything can still happen but I feel confident because our 3008DKR has run like clockwork so far.”
Cyril Despres (PEUGEOT 3008DKR #307)
6e de l’étape / 3e au général
“It turned out to be a quiet day for us. We started out this morning with a big cushion over the fourth-placed car and our aim was to keep out of trouble and nurse our car to the finish. We had a reasonably good run and the second part of the stage was interesting. I even started to see myself as a WRC driver!”
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