Peterhansel celebrating his 10th Dakar Rally victoryEnlarge Photo
Stéphane Peterhansel and his co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret have taken out top honors at the 2012 Dakar Rally for the X-Raid Team and MINI.
At the end of the last of 14 demanding stages, the two Frenchmen and their green MINI Cooper Countryman ALL4 Racing was confirmed as the winner of the legendary rally, with an overall time of 38 hours, 54 minutes and 46 seconds.
This was Peterhansel’s tenth victory at the “Dakar” and his fourth driving a car. He had already claimed six titles on a motorbike.
"When you think of how hard it is to win a Dakar, it's incredible that I've been able to win ten of them. It's been a long time, I've been waiting for five years to win again," said the winner. "To take the victory in South America is a huge relief, it ranks among my best triumphs.
The X-Raid Team also managed to take our second place overall in the car category, with Joan “Nani” Roma of Spain doing the driving and Michel Périn of France as co-driver. They crossed the finish flag in Lima, Peru, nearly 42 minutes behind the winners.
Third place went to Giniel De Villiers of South Africa and Dirk Von Zitzewitz of Germany, who drove a Toyota Hilux pickup.
The winning MINI Cooper Countryman All4 Racing, though resembling a Countryman is actually built around a bespoke chassis and powered by a 300-plus horsepower turbodiesel engine. The Toyota Hilux also featured a unique chassis and 350-horsepower V-8.
Once again the rally was held in South America, having been hosted there since 2009
due to political unrest in the event’s traditional North African setting.
Note, the winner of the Dakar Rally for the previous three years straight
was Volkswagen, which this year chose to bow out of the event in order to pursue other forms of motorsport, namely, the World Rally Championship