Al Attiyah's challenge
Mini look set to be best tested by Toyota, with Qatari Al Attiyah, a double Dakar winner (2011, 2015), no doubt looking forward to the sand-heavy rally.
Attiyah and his French co-driver Mathieu Baumel, finished second last year and will be bolstered by teammate Giniel De Villiers, the South African who claimed the Dakar title in 2009 and has had seven other podium finishes including third in 2018.
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) returns to the Dakar this year for his fourth attempt at the rally. The Frenchman is yet to win the desert classic, but has made his mark with a total of 10 stage victories and a second place finish in 2017.
Loeb will set off from the Peruvian capital behind the wheel of a Peugeot 3008DKR. The nine-time WRC winner has recently refamiliarised himself with the car he previously drove at the Dakar during an intense training session.
"Several teams will have a shot at winning and I hope we are one of them," said Loeb.
Peterhansel is best known for winning the Dakar Rally for a record 13 times.
And the Frenchman is ready for his 14th crown.
"I've crossed the finish line first on 13 occasions and I still ask myself every time how it can be possible. Ultimately, you can stumble into a trap at any point during the race - and then that's that. My co-driver and I do have a certain talent for this rally but it is still an extremely complicated task every time."
Despres has won the Dakar five times, but on a bike. After swapping two wheels for four, the Frenchman has been eyeing a big big breakthrough.
In Peru this year, Despres,Sainz and Peterhansel have all come across to compete with the X-Raid Mini JCW Team after Peugeot closed its Dakar program.