On paper, it looked like a straightforward day, with just 310k to cover, including an all-sand 63km stage. The reality was very different, however. The two PEUGEOT 2008 DKR crews started the test in the order that they had completed Sunday's stage. The team's first one-two finish was led by Stéphane Peterhansel who is now first overall.
#181 Stéphane Peterhansel: I'm pleased to have claimed the 2008 DKR's first cross-country rally stage victory. It's a great reward for the efforts everyone has put in, including those who work behind the scenes. We start every morning with a new car! Today's stage wasn't long but it was quite hard and technically pretty challenging. Just look at the time it took us: 80 minutes to cover 63km. There was a lot of sand but it was fairly hard-packed and we managed without any problems. A tyre came off a rim, perhaps because our tyre pressures were too low. But Cyril was soon there to help us to change the wheel. We only lost four minutes. It was our first taste of dunes since the Dakar and we are very pleased with the evolutions that have been made to the engine and its pull-away at low revs, practically from standstill even.
#182 Cyril Despres: It wasn’t a simple stage. There were big and small dunes everywhere, stretching in every direction. It was a little like the Dakar’s Copiapo stage, except that we didn’t have 10km to cover but 50km! We lent a hand to Stéphane to help change his wheel as quickly as possible. We then ran together before opting for different choices. It took us a few kilometres to find a way past Lavieille who overtook us when we stopped to help Stéphane and Jean-Paul. David and I tried to pass him as we would have done on a bike – by moving out of his wheel tracks – but it wasn’t a good idea because you couldn’t predict what was coming up ahead. We took our time and finally succeeded in getting past. I have to say that the 2008 DKR+ marks a real step forward. We didn’t push too hard but we weren’t hanging back, either. It’s nice to have come first and second.
Provisional Standings SS2.
1. Peterhansel/Cottret (PEUGEOT 2008 DKR) 1.19.09
2. Despres/Castera (PEUGEOT 2008 DKR) 1.20.01
3. Han Wei (Haval) 1.20.51
4. Liu Kun (Panda) 1.24.53
5. Liu Yangui (Panda) 1.24.53
6. Lavieille (Haval) 1.28.50…
Provisional general standings:
1. Peterhansel/Cottret (PEUGEOT 2008 DKR) 2.42.41
2. Han (Haval) +1’35
3. Despres/Castera (PEUGEOT 2008 DKR) +2’04….