With possibly the most insane car ever to take to the desert and 3 of the world’s most legendary rally drivers, it’s only right that Peugeot are seeing dominance at this year’s Dakar Rally.
The 2016 Dakar takes competitors on an on an epic voyage that snakes up through some of the world’s harshest desert in both Argentina and Bolivia, beginning in Buenos Aires and ending in Rosario 14 days later. Possibly the most dangerous and demanding race in the world, the Dakar Rally has claimed the lives of 28 competitors and 42 others since it’s inception in 1970.
The end of the 7th stage on Sunday saw competitors arriving in Salta for a much-needed rest day. This follows days of racing around the salt flats of Bolivia, notorious as the world’s largest and one of the most inhospitable places on the planet. It was here that the Peugeot 2008s of 11-time winner Stephane Peterhanse, rally legend Carlos Sainz and 9 time World Rally Champion (and Dakar debutant) Sebastian Loeb pressed home their dominance on the rest of the field.
With the rally now at it’s half-way point, the 3 Peugeots enjoy a minimum 10 minute buffer over their nearest rivals. Loeb currently stands in the overall lead, 2 minutes ahead of Peterhanse and almost 5 minutes ahead of Sainz.
Things are equally tight in the motorcycle class, where Portuguese Paulo Goncalves sits top of the standings, 3 minutes ahead of Australia’s own Toby Price. Price, who celebrated outstanding wins in both the 5th and 6th stages, was only able to muster a 5th place finish going into the break, but still stands an incredible chance of recording a maiden victory and a second successive podium finish after placing 3rd in last year’s event.
Never a race wholly limited to conventional off road vehicles, the 2016 Dakar is also seeing immense competition across the Truck and Quad-Bike categories. Kama teammates Eduard Nikolaev and Airat Nardeev are separated at the top of the truck standings by just 58 seconds, while compatriots and home favourites Lucas Bonetto and Pablo Conneti have just 28 seconds between them in the Quad Bike class.
As the second half of the rally gets underway over the course of today, incredible racing and some of the most amazing scenery in the world is all but guaranteed. Be sure to stay tuned!