For the twelfth time, French driver Stéphane Peterhansel has won the world’s most gruelling cross-country road race. His final margin of victory was more than half an hour.
Only a mechanical failure could have denied 50-year-old Stèphane Peterhansel a record 12th Dakar title over the final 180-kilometer stretch from Villa Carlos Paz to Roario, Argentina. But his Peugot ran without problems as the Frenchman crossed the finish line in a total time of 45 hours, 22 minutes and 10 seconds.
That was 34 minutes and 58 seconds ahead of second-placed Mini driver Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar. More than an hour behind Al-Attiyah was Toyota’s Geniel de Villiers, who had to settle for third.
The victory was Peterhansel’s sixth in the automobile division of the Dakar competition. The Frenchman also won six races as a motorcyclist. Peterhansel made the switch in 1999 in part because he disliked the loneliness of riding on a motorbike, saying “In the car you can tell your co-pilot how you’re feeling.”
KTM rider Toby Price of Australia won the 2016 Dakar Rally motorcycling competition. Argentina’s Marcos Patronelli won the quad category for the third time.
This year’s Dakar Rally was marred by extreme weather, which forced the cancellation of portions of the competition, and accidents that left one spectator dead and others severely injured.