Run to the Finish
Undeniably, Robby Gordon and defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah in their Hummer H3's were X-raid's closest rivals in the rally. Al-Attiyah pushed from the start but encountered numerous technical problems during the rally and eventually forcing the Qatari to retire on stage 9. Gordon, on the other hand, fought Peterhansel all the way to the penultimate stage until the Californian made a series of costly mistakes which saw him tumble down the standings, eventually finishing in fifth and more than 2 hours behind the Frenchman.
Former Dakar winner Giniel de Villers drove a calm and consistent race, putting his Imperial Toyota Hilux V8 on third spot on the podium. This is a spectacular victory for entire team considering that the production-based Toyota is relatively underdeveloped compared to the MINI's and H3's and is on its first Dakar outing.
With five MINI Countryman ALL4 Racing machines in this year's entry list, the X-raid team from Germany wasn't going to go home with anything less than a first place finish. Besides the overall Dakar victory for Stéphane Peterhansel, the squad also took 8 stage wins out of the 14. In the end, Roma finished 41 minutes behind Peterhansel in third, while Lenoid Novitskiy crossed the line in fourth, Ricardo Leal Dos Santos in eighth, and Krzysztof Holowczyc making it a top 10 finish.
In addition to the big teams, Carlos Sousa had a great performance in the Great Wall Haval SUV and ended up in seventh.