Ro Cuarto - France's Dakar Rally legend
Stephane Peterhansel celebrated his 12th title on Saturday as motorbike rider
Toby Price became the first Australian to etch his name on the gruelling
event's roll of honour.
The 50-year-old Peterhansel avoided any
late drama to safely cross the finish line of the closing 13th stage at Rio
Cuarto to give French manufacturer Peugeot their first win since 1990.
"It's extraordinary. The pressure was
very high, but we came through," said the Dakar's all-time record winner.
"Some of my wins count more than
others, but this one's definitely in the top 3."
Price, 28, who came third last year on his
debut, dominated the two-week bike race after lifting the second stage last
"Being the first Australian to win the
Dakar is just insane," Price said.
"I don't know what to say, I don't
know what to think... I'm in shock, I never would've thought I could win this
race in my second participation.
"This is incredible for my family, my
friends and my fans back in Australia!"
The rider from New South Wales finished
fourth on the final day to wrap up the title and supply his KTM team with a
15th consecutive crown.
He had a tidy 39-minute cushion over his
Slovakian team-mate Stefan Svitko with Chilean Pablo Quintanilla at 48min in
While he was savouring opening his Dakar
account, Peterhansel was adding a new chapter to his love affair with the
iconic event he first competed in back in 1989.
He made what ultimately proved to be a
decisive step towards the 2016 title on Thursday's drive from Belen to La
With his Peugeot teammate and arch rival
Carlos Sainz coming to a grinding halt 30 kilometres from the line, he ended
the day a full one hour clear of last year's winner Nasser Al-Attiyah behind
the wheel of a Mini.
After safely coming in ninth behind final
stage winner Sebastien Loeb, Peterhansel took the title with over half an hour
to spare from Qatari Al-Attiyah.
For Peugeot this was a superb achievement
coming just two years after their return to the iconic event following a
South African Giniel De Villiers driving a
Toyota took third over an hour adrift.
Peterhansel won the first of his six titles
on two wheels in 1991 and his 11th victory behind the wheel of a Mini in 2013.
"It's too early to think about the
future," he said.
"One thing's for sure, getting the
same number of victories on a bike and in a car was the last big goal in my
career. Now that it's done, I don't think there are many things left to
The quads category was won for the third
time by Marcos Patronelli with Dutchman Gerard de Rooy annexing his second