With three days to go before the 2016 Silk Way Rally ends in Beijing, China, the #104 PEUGEOT 2008 DKR continues to top the provisional leaderboard. The lead of Cyril DESPRES and David Castera over their closest threats now stands at 30 minutes.
♦ Sébastien LOEB / Daniel ELENA produced an assertive run on today’s particularly tough leg (Thursday) which featured around 100km of dunes and more complex navigation. They crossed the finish line with the best time to their credit, more than seven minutes faster than their team-mates in the #104 PEUGEOT 2008 DKR. It later transpired, however, that the #102 PEUGEOT 2008 DKR crew had missed two mandatory waypoints, despite passing within tens of metres of them. They were handed a hefty time penalty of four hours which has relegated the Franco-Monegasque pair to 10th overall this evening, 4h2m55s adrift of Cyril DESPRES.
♦ Cyril DESPRES / David CASTERA continued their faultless run to date with another well-judged display which earned them the day’s second-best time behind fellow Peugeot Sport runners LOEB and ELENA, despite losing the use of their PEUGEOT 2008 DKR’s third gear from around the stage’s halfway point. Their lead at the top of the leaderboard has been extended to more than half-an-hour over this evening’s second-placed crew.
♦ Stéphane PETERHANSEL / Jean Paul COTTRET were fifth-fastest on today’s stage.
♦ The #104 PEUGEOT 2008 DKR duo will now have additional pressure on their shoulders since they are now PEUGEOT’s only chance of victory, although they will be able to count on the rapid assistance of their team-mates in the #102 and #100 cars until the finish in Beijing.
TYPE OF TERRAIN : 80% tracks / 20% off-road: chiefly sandy ground with portions of tall dunes
CONDITIONS : Twisty trails, tall dunes and complex navigation
WEATHER : Sunny; average temperature 24.6°C; maximum temperature 33°C
AVERAGE SPEED : 85kph
Bruno FAMIN (Team Manager, Team Peugeot Total / Director, Peugeot Sport)
We can take a lot of positives from what happened today, especially as far as Sébastien LOEB and Daniel ELENA go. Despite their penalty, which we do not dispute, they had an excellent run after running at the front of the field for some 400km. They are continuing to learn and are making progress at an amazing speed. For the moment, we still haven’t deviated from our game plan which was to learn and aim for the win. We will continue to do all we can to get Cyril and David to the finish but it can’t be denied that, like us, they now have extra pressure on their shoulders. Having just one car at the top of the leaderboard changes a great deal, especially as the two remaining stages probably won’t be mere strolls in the park…
Stéphane PETERHANSEL (SS: 5th / Overall: 17th)
It was another stage with a bit of everything today, from twisty tracks to navigation and dunes. The navigation and the dunes were particularly hard, although the sand was quite firm compared with last year. We hesitated a little at the last Passage Control and clearly we weren’t perfect today. We will continue to play our support role and stay close to Cyril through the dunes. That makes life easier for us because it means we can afford to take our time to analyse the road and direction changes ahead. Despite his penalty, Sébastien did a good job today.
Sébastien LOEB (SS: 1st / Overall: 10th)
At the Passage Control, we realised we hadn’t collected the waypoint. We drove around for a while to look for it. We thought we’d collected it afterwards but that wasn’t the case. We can’t have been more than 40 metres away. It was a delicate portion with a high number of waypoints all close together. It’s very frustrating because we put in a good run despite being first on the road over some difficult terrain, and Daniel coped well with the navigation. We are still beginners and we haven’t yet mastered all the niceties of the GPS. We came here to learn and I believe we had been doing even better than that up to today.
Cyril DESPRES (SS: 2nd / Overall: 1st)
When we set off this morning I had a sort of premonition because the car and the gearbox were making a bit of noise on the start line. We later lost the use of third gear over the dunes while we were looking for the correct heading. I’m still learning and it’s only the first time I have suffered a mechanical problem in the 2008 DKR. We did a lot of driving about in the dunes to avoid getting stuck and it was a relief when we reached the bivouac. From the tracks he left, Sébastien was clearly going well and he paid a big price for his mistake. I intend to stay focused for the last two stages and we have the benefit of some great sporting and moral support from everyone at Peugeot Sport.
Provisional classification – SS 12 (Jiayuguan-Alashan)
1. Sébastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MC), PEUGEOT 2008 DKR, 4h57min46s
2. Cyril Despres (FRA) / David Castera (FRA), PEUGEOT 2008 DKR, +2min55s
3. Yazeed Al Rajhi (SAU) / Timo Gottschalk (DEU), Mini, +9min32s
4. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) / Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS), Mini, +10min20s
5.Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) / Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA), PEUGEOT 2008 DKR, 13min25s
Provisional leaderboard after Leg 12
1.Cyril Despres (FRA) / David Castera (FRA), PEUGEOT 2008 DKR, 27h29min56s
2.Yazeed Al Rajhi (SAU) / Timo Gottschalk (DEU), Mini, +30min30s
3.Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) / Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS), Mini, +49min04s
4.Harry Hunt (GBR) / Andreas Schulz (DEU), Mini, +1h41min00s
10.Sébastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MC), PEUGEOT 2008 DKR, +4h2min55s
17. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) / Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA), PEUGEOT 2008 DKR, +9h26min37s
NEXT: LEG 13 (FRIDAY)
The drive 724km from Alashan to Wuhai includes a 367km stage which, once again, will predominantly comprise sand and dunes.
SPOT THE PEUGEOT 2008 DKR
The three PEUGEOTs can be distinguished by the colour of their PEUGEOT windscreen strip and competition numbers: yellow for Stéphane PETERHANSEL/Jean-Paul COTTRET (N°100), white for Sébastien LOEB / Daniel ELENA (N°102) and red for Cyril DESPRES / David CASTERA (N°104).
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