The so-called ‘rest day’ is anything but a rest for the Team Peugeot Total mechanics, who have to prepare and check the cars for the second half of the Dakar Rally, which begins tomorrow. At the halfway point, two examples of the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR remain in the rally, with Stéphane Peterhansel in eighth overall and Cyril Despres – on his Dakar debut – in 41st. The cars have exhibited strong reliability, and Peterhansel has been in the hunt for stage wins: a positive sign for the future. Not only that, but all the crews have accumulated plenty of experience and anecdotes: an essential part of this epic adventure. Carlos Sainz was forced to retire on day five, after hitting a rock that he couldn’t see in the dust and rolling the car five times. Both he and co-driver Lucas Cruz, who had previously run as high as fourth overall, were uninjured.
Tomorrow the competitors remain in Chile for the first of five demanding stages that will eventually take them back to Buenos Aires in Argentina, where the finish is scheduled for Saturday 17 January. Many challenges still lie ahead.
Tomorrow: SS9 (Iquique-Calama): Tuesday 13 / 08:45am local time - 538km (SS 450km).
Stéphane Peterhansel (#302):
Highlight of the rally: The feeling that the performance is there, with a good top speed. On many stages, we were able to fight at the front, which is really encouraging. What we can take away from these first seven days is very positive, as we haven’t encountered any major technical problems. We weren’t feeling so confident about that a few weeks ago…
Low point of the rally: Stage two, for two different reasons. Firstly because I made a mistake by hitting a tree and breaking a steering arm, which undoubtedly cost us time. The second low point was just the heat. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
Cyril Despres (#322):
Highlight of the rally: About 38 kilometres from Iquique, you go through some beautiful valleys with really spectacular gulleys. Me and my co-driver Gilles were both left amazed.
Low point of the rally: The second stage, which took us to San Juan. I thought we were going to cook inside the car.
Results - Overall ranking at rest day (12th January):
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Qatar Rally Team 26h 41m 15s
2. Giniel de Villiers (RSA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota All Speed +00:08:27
3. Yazeed Al-Rahji (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Toyota +00:18:40
4. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Mini +00:54:38
5. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NLD)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) Toyota +01:22:52
6. Erik van Loon (NLD)/Wouter Roesegar (NLD) Mini +01:25:51
7. Christian Lavieille (FRA)/Pascal Maimon (FRA) Toyota +01:48:41
8. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/J-P Cottret (FRA) Team Peugeot-Total +01:51:46
9. Carlos Sousa (PRT)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) Mitsubishi +02:07:13
10. Ronan Chabot (FRA)/Gilles Pillot (FRA) SMG +02:26:50
41. Cyril Despres (FRA)/Gilles Picard (FRA) Team Peugeot-Total +14:18:43