Peterhansel soars after tenth Dakar crown
Stephane Peterhansel moved to an all-time high in the Castrol EDGE Rankings after claiming his 10th Dakar Rally crown – and the first for the Mini brand.
The Frenchman was in control for much of the rally, leading for all but two days and eventually sealing victory by just over 40 minutes. Early punctures and a period stuck in sand dunes two stages from the finish were the only significant blips.
Having finished fourth in last year’s rally, victory in 2012 was enough for Peterhansel to leap 337 places in the Castrol EDGE Rankings – moving him to an all-time high of 587th overall.
Peterhansel’s main rivals were less fortuitous, with both the Hummers of Robby Gordon and defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah suffering a series of blows.
Al-Attiyah was the hardest hit, as mechanical issues dented his challenge in the first week and then halted it in the second.
With his victory last year compounding the damage in the Rankings, he fell 269 places – although he still sits above Peterhansel in 528th. He will have the opportunity to improve that position with a full WRC schedule for the rest of the year, starting from Rally Sweden.
As Al-Attiyah slid down the order, his Hummer stable mate Robby Gordon became the highest-ranked Dakar driver.
Gordon too suffered his share of misfortune, but was able to bring his car home in fifth – even if he was competing under appeal after a tyre inflation system fell foul of a technical inspection.
Having retired before the start of stage four in 2011, Gordon was able to gain 150 places on the back of this year’s rally, moving the American into 372nd.
As the Hummer challenge faded only Mini’s Nani Roma was left with a realistic chance of capturing victory.
In the end first proved a step too far, but he was able to finish a comfortable second ahead of Toyota’s Giniel de Villers and the third Mini of Leionid Novitskiy.
Like Gordon Roma had retired in last year’s event, boosting his gains in the Rankings. Second was enough to bring a meteoric rise of 1,182 places, pushing Roma into 772nd.
De Villiers suffered the opposite fate: second last year, third came with a fall of 67 places to 873rd.
He remains ahead of Novitskiy however, even after the Russian secured his own massive rise of 1,028 spots, propelling him to an all-time high of 926th.