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Peugeot sweeps to victory in 2016 Dakar. Image by Peugeot.

Peugeot sweeps to victory in 2016 Dakar
Peugeot 2008 DKRs dominate South American endurance rally, winning event outright.
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What's all this about?

Peugeot has dominated the 2016 Dakar, winning the four-wheeled side of the event in storming style with its awesome 2008 DKR.

How dominant was the Lion?

Of its four entered cars, three finished in the top ten - No.302, driven by Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel and with compatriot Jean-Paul Cottret as co-driver, was the winner, while DKRs piloted by Cyril Despres/David Castera and former WRC legend Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena came seventh and ninth respectively. Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz, in the fourth 2008 DKR, were unlucky not to finish after a mechanical failure put paid to their Dakar on stage ten, while they were in the lead... but as 2008 DKRs won nine of the 12 stages, including seven one-two and two one-two-three finishes, it's fair to say no other manufacturer really got a look in.

Is the Dakar now in South America?

It is indeed. Security concerns in Africa cancelled the 2008 edition of the Paris-Dakar and ever since it has been held across the South Atlantic in the Americas. It's still a tough old beast, though; it covers 5,900 miles in 15 days across two countries (Argentina and Bolivia), reaching altitudes as high as 4,800 metres. Peterhansel and Cottret, in winning the event, clocked a time of 45 hours, 22 minutes and ten seconds.

Has Peugeot won before?

Yes, 26 years ago the event was won by the Peugeot 406 Rally Raid, which had been dominant in previous years. However, this was only Peugeot's second Dakar in South America, which makes its achievement all the more impressive.

Was Loeb in the running to win?

He certainly was, as his demigod-like driving skills saw him take three of the first five stage wins. Only a roll on stage ten, the same section that accounted for Sainz's car, scuppered his victory chances.

Will Peugeot be back for 2017?

It certainly will. And rather worryingly for its rivals, Peugeot Sport's director Bruno Famin said: "The results have surpassed our expectations because we came here just to show the performance of the car. And we've achieved that objective well throughout all different types of conditions. We're absolutely delighted with this result and we hope to confirm it again next year - maybe even by aiming for a one-two-three." Crikey - no pressure, then!

Matt Robinson - 18 Jan 2016

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