Stéphane Peterhansel claimed his tenth Dakar Rally win, and the first for the Mini brand, as he cruised to the finish in Lima, according to Autosport.
The Frenchman, whose fourth victory in the legendary event's car category follows six wins on motorcycles, was in control of the 2012 Dakar for the majority of the distance. Early punctures and a period stuck in sand dunes two stages from the end were the only significant blips in Peterhansel's two weeks in South America.
Peterhansel's winning margin was just over 40 minutes over his X-Raid Mini teammate, Nani Roma. The Spaniard had been much closer before a significant delay in the dunes yesterday. Fellow X-Raid man Krzysztof Holowczyc was also a victory threat at first, but tumbled down the order with mechanical problems in the middle of the second week.
Leonid Novitskiy made sure X-Raid still got three of its Minis in the top four, as he came home fourth behind Giniel de Villiers' Toyota.
The main opposition to the Minis came from the Hummers run by Robby Gordon's team, as both the American and his 2011 Dakar-winning teammate, Nasser Al-Attiyah, showed spectacular pace during the event. Ultimately, however, both encountered too many problems to contend for victory, with Al-Attiyah retiring early in the second week, and Gordon dropping back to fifth. Gordon still added victory on today's short final stage to his tally, though he was competing under appeal following a dispute over a tire-inflation system on his car.
X-Raid team principal Sven Quandt said, “We finally have achieved our long-awaited goal: our first win in the Dakar Rally. In this year’s Dakar, the Mini All4 Racing clearly demonstrated its outstanding potential and reliability.”
The X-Raid team also had three X3s in the Dakar. All three finished, with the best of the BMWs, the X3 of Boris Garafulic and Gilles Picard, coming in twelfth overall.
Quandt's X-Raid team will go on to contest the new FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup, which begins its season in Italy in March.––Paul Duchene
Leading finishers: Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Stephane Peterhansel Mini 14h54m46s 2. Nani Roma Mini + 41m56s 3. Giniel de Villiers Toyota + 1h13m25s 4. Leonid Novitskiy Mini + 2h11m54s 5. Robby Gordon Hummer + 2h16m53s 6. Lucio Alvarez Toyota + 4h05m52s 7. Carlos Sousa Great Wall + 4h30m24s 8. Ricardo Leal dos Santos Mini + 5h03m18s 9. Bernhard Ten Brinke Mitsubishi + 5h11m18s 10. Krzysztof Holowczyc Mini + 6h59m38sBack to News