“El Matador” Carlos Sainz and co-driver, Lucas Cruz brought their n°303 Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi to a magnificent victory at the 40th Dakar Rally this weekend, with a 43 minute 40 second advantage over the nearest rivals. The third consecutive win for Team Peugeot Total, on the most demanding rally in the world, came only after battling 8,793km of dunes, mountain passes and rocky tracks through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. Peugeot won seven out of 13 stages outright at the hands of the ultimate Dream Team of Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz, Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret, Cyril Despres and David Castera and Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena. This year’s win takes Peugeot’s already impressive track record of success at the Dakar to new heights, being the manufacturer’s seventh win from eight races since 1987.
Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport Director, said: “Peugeot ends its Dakar campaign in the best possible way thanks to a fantastic victory from Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz and the Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi, on a Dakar Rally that will go down in history. To take three consecutive victories on such a complicated event is an exceptional achievement that is as much down to our very high technical level as it is to our unfailing team spirit. We are particularly pleased with this victory for Carlos and Lucas, who have driven an absolutely incredible rally, overcoming every obstacle. Carlos has put so much into our Dakar project from the very beginning, so it’s fantastic that he can be rewarded in this way. Three of our four cars are there at the finish of the most difficult rally of the decade, with the Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi having shown its technical superiority with no failures. It’s a great satisfaction for the whole team and a massive source of pride for Peugeot.”
Carlos Sainz (Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi n°303) said: “It was a very difficult rally for me. It’s probably been the most difficult Dakar that I’ve ever taken part in, even counting the ones in Africa. The organisers gave us a truly challenging route, with so many incredibly difficult stages. Of course, it’s very satisfying for Lucas and me to win such a difficult rally. And the same applies to the whole Peugeot team, which has done a fantastic job throughout the entire programme. The Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi is probably the best car I have ever driven on rally raids. Thank you to everyone who has supported us in this project, and a big thank you to Peugeot Sport.”
“Mr Dakar” Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret, winners of the 2016 and 2017 Dakars with Peugeot, had an action-packed rally with two unfortunate setbacks, that ultimately cost them 2nd place in the overall classification; in two separate incidents, the n°300 crew destroyed their car’s left-rear suspension against a hidden rock, when swerving to avoid a quad bike stopped in the middle of the road and then hit a tree, which damaged their power steering. On both occasions, their team mates Cyril Despres and David Castera helped them fix their car and continue. Nonetheless they finished fourth overall, after proving to be the fastest crew of the whole Team Peugeot Total squad, with three stage victories.
The first Peugeot crew to win a stage on the 2018 Dakar was Cyril Despres and David Castera, who claimed the overall lead at the end of SS2. Unfortunately, the ambitions of the two former bike riders were undone by a rock coming out of the road at kilometre 180 of SS4. This destroyed the right-rear suspension of the car, which stopped the duo in their tracks. With the help of Team PEUGEOT Total’s service truck, also entered in the competition, the n°308 PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi crew was able to continue, but with a severe delay. From then on, demonstrating amazing team spirit, the duo dedicated themselves to helping their team mates, while setting some impressive stage times.
After finishing second on last year’s Dakar, just five minutes behind the winners, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena started this year’s event with the clear objective of winning. They made a great start to the rally, and won SS4 in style, one of the most difficult stages of the modern Dakar in South America. Unfortunately, while running second in the overall classification, they were forced to retire on SS5, between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa in Peru. Their Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi fell into a soft and sandy hole while they were avoiding another competitor who had got stuck. The impact fractured Daniel Elena’s coccyx, making it impossible for him to continue.
This win marks Peugeot’s final participation on the Dakar. Peugeot Sport will now concentrate on the FIA World Rallycross Championship (WorldRX). The season will get underway from April 14-15 in Barcelona, with Sébastien Loeb driving one of the Peugeot 208 WRX entries. At the same time, Peugeot Sport will also prepare for the forthcoming electric Rallycross championship in 2020.