Peugeot has won the famous Dakar Rally for the 5th time with Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret in his Peugeot 208 DKR. Peugeot’s 208 DKR’s had nine stage wins out of a possible 12. With a 9500-kilometre route through Argentina and Bolivia, taking in extreme weather and altitudes that peaked at 4800 metres, Team Peugeot Total took on the fearsome 2-week, 13-stage challenge. Peugeot’s engineers had learned several valuable lessons during their first participation in South America in 2015 and worked non-stop ever since to improve the car. Lower, wider, longer and more powerful, the new Peugeot 2008 DKR didn’t take long to show the extent of its potential. The car kept faith with its two-wheel drive configuration against the traditional 4x4s, and was instantly at ease on every type of surface, underlining the effectiveness of the technical choices that were originally made.
The Team Peugeot Total crews claimed the lead of the rally right from the first stage. Using all of his traditional rallying expertise, Sébastien Loeb was the 1st to claim a stage win, with Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz close behind. During the first week the Peugeot 2008 DKRs consistently occupied the top 3 places. By the time the rally reached the rest day at Salta, following some challenging stages at high altitude in Bolivia, the top-3 line-up consisted of Loeb, Peterhansel and Sainz.
The 2nd week of the rally offered further adventures with a more varied route, taking in an increased amount of off-piste action through dunes. Through this hazard strewn terrain, both Sebastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz bid farewell to their hopes of victory, because of a roll and a mechanical breakage on stage 10 respectively. Cyril Despres had already been delayed on stage 5 with a turbo problem, so it was Stéphane Peterhansel who emerged as Team Peugeot Total’s main contender for victory. The Frenchman won a crucial stage through the famous Fiambala dunes, and then seized the advantage on the 10th of 13 stages, with a cushion of one hour at the head of the field. He then had to manage that advantage all the way to the finish.