Peterhansel shows the potential of the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR in the Dakar dunes.


8 January 2015

Stéphane Peterhansel on SS4 © DPPI

Copiapó, Argentina
Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The fourth day was one of mixed emotions for Team Peugeot-Total. Stéphane Peterhansel showed the car’s potential, taking the lead of the 315-kilometre stage before falling back after the final waypoint. He finished the stage fifth, to continue his climb up the leaderboard. But his team-mates Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres lost time, after encountering technical problems early in the stage.

The route to today’s stage took the competitors up to 4,800 metres, as they crossed the Andes Mountains en route to Chile. The 315-kilometre stage, which followed a mammoth 594-kilometre liaison, took competitors into the heart of the Atacama Desert: the driest region on earth. After warming up with some gravelly mining tracks, the crews encountered the first of the serious sand dunes, which are an enduring feature of the Dakar.

Stéphane Peterhansel (#302) found a good feeling straight away with this complex terrain: the demanding dunes suiting the light and agile two-wheel drive PEUGEOT 2008 DKR perfectly. His committed approach meant that he was leading at the final waypoint, before dropping back. This strong performance, on only the car’s fourth-ever competitive stage, resulted in Peterhansel climbing from 16th to 12th in the overall classification.

“The car felt really good,” said Peterhansel. “At the start of the stage though, after about 20 kilometres, I jumped for about two to three metres when cutting a corner and damaged the nose of the car. At the end of the stage, when it started to get really bumpy, the front of the car started to move even more and then we had a puncture, so this is where we lost our advantage.”

For Carlos Sainz (#304) and Cyril Despres (#322), it was a less successful day. Sainz had brilliantly fought up to fourth overall after yesterday’s stage, but stopped in kilometre 32 of the stage today, reporting a turbo failure.

On certain stages in the Dakar (such as today’s) the trucks follow a different route to the cars, meaning that the crew could not immediately rely on the support of their assistance crew. It was a similar story for Despres, who was reported stopped after nine kilometres with a clutch problem. He finally managed to regain the bivouac unassisted, while Sainz was helped by the assistance truck before also continuing unaided.

Team Peugeot-Total principal Bruno Famin commented: “We don’t see this as a dark day at all. Only a non-technical reason meant that Stéphane was not able to win the stage, while what happened to the other cars was to be expected at our first Dakar. We’re here to identify the issues one by one and then fix them as we go along.”

Tomorrow: SS5 (Copiapo-Antofagasta): Thursday 8 / 9:09am local time – 697km (SS 458km)

Results of SS4:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (F) Qatar Rally Team 3hr 09min 18sec
2. Nani Roma (E)/Michel Perin (F) Mini 3hr 11min 58sec
3. Giniel de Villiers (RSA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Toyota 3hr 12min 15sec
4. Yazeed Al-Rahji (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Toyota 3hr 12min 43sec
5. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/J-P Cottret (F) Peugeot 2008 DKR 3hr 15min 06sec

Overall ranking – Results after SS4:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (F) Qatar Rally Team 12hr 30min 44sec
2. Giniel de Villiers (RSA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Toyota All Speed 12hr 38min 59sec
3. Yazeed Al-Rahji (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Toyota 12hr 54min 17sec
4. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NL)/Tom Colsoul (B) Toyota 13hr 13min 16sec
5. Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)/Xavier Panseri (F) Mini 13hr 14min 14sec
12. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/J-P Cottret (F) Peugeot 2008 DKR 13hr 49min 21sec











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