Thu, 11/01/2018 - 23:45
Today was a long stretch behind the wheel for the crews, as the Dakar Rally entered the demanding high-altitude stages of Bolivia, en route to the country’s capital, on very different roads to those seen so far. Peugeot maintained its grip on the Dakar by claiming its fourth stage win of the event (the first this year for Carlos Sainz) to reinforce its one-two position in the overall standings: a result mirrored on today’s stage. The good news for all the crews is that they can now enjoy a well-earned rest day as the event reaches its halfway point. Following a first week packed with drama, what happens next is impossible to predict.

• Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz claimed another stage win for PEUGEOT today, as the terrain went from desert stages to high-altitude mountain passes, peaking at 4732 metres, and flat-out straights. Proving the adaptability of the PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi to all sorts of terrain, the Spaniards were fastest by more than four minutes after dominating the day’s action.
• Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret also avoided drama to consolidate their first place overall after finishing second on the stage: combining consistency with reliability. They currently still lead by nearly 30 minutes – with one more week of intense competition to go.
• Cyril Despres/David Castera are now aiming only for stage wins after a troubled couple of days. However, today’s action was much better for them and with confidence returning, they are making their way back up the leaderboard, while standing by to help their team mates. On the stage, they were fifth-fastest.
1. Carlos Sainz (ESP) / Lucas Cruz (ESP), PEUGEOT 3008 DKR Maxi, 2h53m30s
2. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) / Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, +4m06s
3. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT) / Matthieu Baumel (FRA), Toyota 4WD, +5m05s
4. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) / Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZAF), Toyota 4WD, +5m31s
5. Cyril Despres (FRA) / David Castera (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, +8m49s
6. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Andreas Schulz (GER), Mini 2WD, +8m56s
7. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NED) / Michel Perin (FRA), Toyota 4WD, +9m31s
8. Lucio Alvarez (ARG) / Robert Howie (ZAF), Toyota 4WD, +12m26s
9. Martin Prokop (CZE) / Jan Tomanek (CZE), Ford 4WD, +12m31s
10. Jakub Przygonski (POL) / Tom Colsoul (BEL), Mini 4WD, +12m39s 
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) / Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, 16h25m02s
2. Carlos Sainz (ESP) / Lucas Cruz (ESP), PEUGEOT 3008 DKR Maxi, +27m10s
3. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NLD) / Michel Perin (FRA), Toyota 4WD, +1h20m41s
4. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT) / Matthieu Baumel (FRA), Toyota 4WD, +1h24m20s
5. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) / Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZAF), Toyota 4WD, +1h35m59s
6. Jakub Przygonski (POL) / Tom Colsoul (BEL), Mini 4WD, +2h25m16s 
7. Martin Prokop (CZE) / Jan Tomanek (CZE), Ford 4WD, +2h25m52s
8. Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi (ARE) / Xavier Panseri (FRA), Peugeot 3008DKR, +2h29m06s
9. Eugenio Amos (ITA) / Sebastien Delaunay (FRA), Buggy 2WD, +2h30m58s 
10. Patrick Sireyjol (FRA) / Francois-Xavier Beguin (FRA), Buggy 2WD, +3h25m35s 
TBC. Cyril Despres (FRA) / David Castera (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, +41h32m41s
Carlos Sainz (PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi n°303)
1st on stage 6, 2nd in overall classification
“From the start of the rally we've been off-piste in the sand and that’s not my favoured sort of terrain. So even if there were a lot of straights today and it wasn’t so exciting it’s nice to have a change…five days of sand is too much. There’s still a lot of racing left, with stages that are 400 or 500 kilometres long, as well as the marathon stage, so anything can happen.”
Stéphane Peterhansel (PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi n°300)
2nd on stage 6, 1st in overall classification
“Today was completely different: the stage was more straightforward and it was easy navigation. The main problem was altitude, which obviously saps a bit power: because of the altitude the brain also works a bit in slow motion as well, so it was complicated. Today was a transition really, between desert and mountains. For my part I took no risks at all: the main thing was just to arrive in Bolivia safely. To be in La Paz with a 27-minutes lead is already more than I expected.”
Cyril Despres (PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi n°308)
5th on stage 6, TBC in overall classification
“The altitude was OK for us but after all the setbacks we have had over the last two days, it wasn’t easy for us to be straight back on the pace. The main aim now is above all to be there to support our team mates, so there’s no point in taking any risks. We went at a decent pace without pushing too hard on a stage that was quite damp. And at least, whatever happens, I will have driven along the shores of Lake Titicaca: that’s already something!”
PEUGEOT has already claimed one sporting success in Bolivia, back in 1979. This was on the Codasur Rally, which went on to be called Rally Argentina : a well-known round of the World Rally Championship. The two factory PEUGEOT 504 entries for Jean Guichet/Jean Todt and Jean-Claude Lefebvre/Jean-Pierre Rouget finished first and second after an eventful outing. The route was designed to take in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru, but was stopped in Peru because of political issues.
Friday is a rest day in the Bolivian capital La Paz, before the first part of this year’s marathon stage starts on Sunday, with no overnight servicing permitted in between the two days. The rest day is an opportunity for the crews to relax, but there’s no such luck for the PEUGEOT mechanics, who will strip and rebuild each 3008DKR to restore it to perfect condition for the second half of the rally.

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