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It's time to salute Monsieur Dakar!

Stephane Peterhansel

Bengaluru, January 16: The man they call Monsieur Dakar -- Stephane Peterhansel -- kept main rival Nasser Al Attiyah in sight on stage 12 in Saudi Arabia to wrap up a record 14th Dakar Rally victory, 30 years after his first one.

The Frenchman first contested the world's most fearsome off-road race in 1988 on a Yamaha motorbike and won six titles on two wheels before switching to cars to reel off another seven desert victories in Africa and South America.

This time around for Saudi Arabia's second edition, the 55-year-old had to keep three-time champion Al Attiyah at bay with the Qatari only able to take seconds out of his 15m05s overnight lead by the Jeddah finish line.

Stephane Peterhansel wins record 14th Dakar Rally title

The Dakar 2021 may be over, but for the convoy of racers, thoughts are already focused on preparing mind and motor for a trip back to the dunes next year!

Star-studded podium

Star-studded podium

It was Peterhansel's third car victory in a MINI with Al Attiyah second and last year's winner Carlos Sainz of Spain winning the final stage to round out a star-studded podium.

Poland's Jakub Przygoński finished fourth, South African Giniel De Villiers eighth and Frenchman Cyril Despres 10th after the 8,000-kilometre odyssey.

Salute the champion

Salute the champion

Peterhansel also now stands alone as the biggest winner in a single category with eight car wins after Monsieur Dakar had previously shared that record with Vladimir Chagin, winner of seven truck titles.

After an 8,000-kilometre odyssey over the sand dunes of Saudi there has been a stunning end to the Dakar Rally 2021 as it is time to salute Monsieur Dakar!

Almost perfect

Almost perfect

"It was a really tough one this year and there's always more pressure when you're the leader for so long. We had everything to lose, but we did a really precise race, almost perfect," said Peterhansel.

"It's working really well inside the cockpit, it's a good feeling to have Edouard (Boulanger) sit next to me. This was his first Dakar in a top car and he did a really excellent job," added Peterhansel.

Memorable edition

Memorable edition

Nine-time World Rally Championship winner Sebastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena were forced to retire from the rally on stage eight.

As the dust has settled at the Dakar Rally 2021, myKhel.com salutes all those who made this latest edition truly memorable.

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Story first published: Saturday, January 16, 2021, 9:04 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 16, 2021