Team Peugeot leads 2017 Dakar Rally at the break

  The 2017 Dakar Rally is on a short break, following the cancellation of Stage 6 a day earlier. Competitors drove in liaison to Saturday’s overnight halt in La Paz, Bolivia. The world’s highest capital, 3, 660 meters, gave the caravan an enthusiastic welcome ahead of Sunday’s rest day. With the first half of the event completed, Team Peugeot Total is first, second and third in the provisional overall standings.

The 2017 Dakar has lived up to the promise of its organizers as one of the most closely fought in recent years. In addition to the event’s traditional difficulties, a new type of passage control has been keeping the co-drivers on their toes. Rain and even a little snow have further spiced up the challenge while crews climbed as high as 4, 960 meters in the course of a road section on Day 3.

Team Peugeot has taken the difficulties encountered so far in its stride, claiming four fastest times from five, with only the shortest of the stages contested to date escaping it. The team’s three crews still in contention have taken turns at the top of the leaderboard and have all won at least one stage each.

After six stages, the podium is locked out by three Peugeot 3008DKRs. Although Sebastien Loeb is the only crew to have won two stages, last year’s winner Stephane Peterhansel is currently in front, 1:09 clear of his team mate. Carlos Sainz showed his customary speed early on but was eliminated when the team was unable to repair his car after it rolled on Leg 4. The team’s final onslaught will rely on Loeb, Peterhansel and Cyril Despres.

The three crews will now be able to take advantage of the rest day in La Paz, while the rest of the team personnel use the break to comprehensively refettle the cars ahead of the rally’s second and final week. Their work will be particularly important since week 2’s action includes a long marathon stage when no overnight servicing will be allowed.

2017 Dakar Rally overall classification

1. PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET J-P. (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, 14h2m58s
2. LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MON), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +1m9s
3. DESPRES Cyril (FRA) / David CASTERA (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +4m54s
4. ROMA Nani (ESP) / HARO Bravo (ESP), Toyota Hilux, +5m35s
5. HIRVONEN Mikko (FIN) / PERIN Michel (FRA), Mini, +42m21s