Words by Christopher Kho | Photos courtesy of the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.)
After 14 stages covering 8,377 gruelling kilometers over gravel, mud, and sand in three different South American countries, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel in his X-raid MINI Countryman ALL4 Racing emerged victorious and took his 10th overall Dakar rally win in Lima, Peru. With this win, Peterhansel indeed is the master of the Dakar after winning it six times on a bike (1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, and 1998) and now four times on a car (2004, 2005, 2007, and 2012). He is joined on the podium in second place by teammate Joan “Nani” Roma from Spain in the sister MINI ALL4 making it a one-two finish, while Giniel de Villiers in the South African-built Imperial Toyota Hilux V8 surprised all with a third place finish on the pick-up's debut.
Back in January 1, 2012, 443 bikes, quads, cars, and trucks took off from the starting line at the coast of Mar del Plata in Argentina for the 33rd running of the Dakar rally. 15 days later, only 249 of those who started made it to the finish line in Lima, earning the Dakar the title as the toughest off-road race in the world.