Stéphane Peterhansel knows the Rally Dakar. He knows that the winner is not crowned until the final stage is really over. The route is too tricky and the competitors just too good to celebrate prematurely. That is why Stéphane did not accept any early congratulations on the eve of the rally's final day – even though he held a lead of almost 43 minutes over his team-mate Nani Roma, who was second overall at that time.
Neither did he feel too confident about the fact that the next contender for the overall victory, Giniel de Villiers, was more than 1:15 hours behind him. "I still feel like I am in the race," said Stéphane. " There is still a 30-kilometre special to go and we could have a technical problem. I am still holding my breath. I will breathe again once I am on the podium."
24 hours without any oxygen definitely paid off for Stéphane.
After the final 29 competitive kilometres of the 2012 Rally Dakar from Pisco to Lima it was official: the winner is Stéphane Peterhansel.
Stéphane did not take any risks on the 14th and final stage. That he finished tenth on that stage (which Robby Gordon won) did not matter anymore, thanks to the comfortable lead in the overall standings, with which he had started the day. In the end the clock showed a total time of 38:44:56 hours. That is how long it took him to cover nearly 4,000 competetive kilometres from Mar del Plata in Argentina to Peru's capital Lima.
It is also Stéphane's tenth overall Dakar victory. The last time he won it all was in 2007. No other driver has more overall Dakar wins than Stéphane. "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. Winning the rally for Team X-Raid makes it even more special, since Sven Quandt has been waiting for years for this to happen. I don't know what I could do to go one better. Beating this record is going to be difficult - for the others!"
The X-raid team also reached another milestone on the back of Stéphane's victory. It is the very first Dakar triumph for the X-raid team at its tenth attempt. So there was every reason to celebrate. "To win the toughest rally in the world is something really special. It is the win that we have been chasing for so long. Congratulations to Stéphane on his tenth Dakar victory. He once again showed what an outstanding driver he is. Of course we would also like to congratulate his co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret," said Team Manager Sven Quandt.
Quandt had entered five MINI ALL4 Racings at the Dakar. The fact that all five cars reached the finish shows the great reliability of the MINI ALL4 Racing as well as the quality of the X-raid team. Quandt: "I would like to say thank you very much to all the driver crews and the whole X-raid team for their superb efforts. They have made the first Dakar victory in the histrory of the X-raid team come true."
The overall result is indeed an impressive one. All MINI ALL4 Racing drivers finished in the overall top ten. Nani Roma was second and Leonid Novitskiy fourth, while Ricardo Leal dos Santos and Krzystof Holowczyc claimed eighth and tenth places overall. Throughout the whole event, one of the X-raid team's MINIs has always been sitting pretty on top of the overall standings.
A good eight weeks after his Dakar victory, Stéphane Peterhansel is back in Dakar mode. The eleven-time Dakar champion will be back to defend his title in 2014 – in a MINI ALL4 Racing.
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A good month and a half after winning the Rally Dakar, MINI is launching the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 Racing Dakar Winner 2013 – in a seriously limited edition.
Ultimate cornering, breathtaking acceleration.
Nobody has more Dakar victories to his name than Stéphane Peterhansel. For every one of his eleven titles we have twice as many photos of his most recent success: Congratulations, Stéphane.
A car built for victory. The MINI John Cooper Works Challenge races across the track at 240 km/h.
Experience MINI John Cooper Works.