Motorsport

'Mr Dakar' lives up to his name

Hail, the hero! Stephane Peterhansel celebrates his victory with teammates.   | Photo Credit: FRANCK FIFE

France's Stephane Peterhansel on Friday won the Dakar Rally for the 14th time, 30 years after his initial success in the most gruelling event on the motorsport calendar.

Peterhansel, nicknamed 'Mr Dakar', has now won the car category eight times, having also won the motorbike category six times.

The 55-year-old Mini driver, aided by co-pilot Edouard Boulanger, finished 14min 51sec ahead of Qatari Nasser al-Attiyah (Toyota), with Spain's Carlos Sainz — winner of Friday's 12th and final stage from Yanbu to Jeddah — rounding out the podium in another Mini.

Biker succumbs

Peterhansel's victory came shortly after news that French motorcyclist Pierre Cherpin had died from injuries sustained in a crash on the seventh stage, becoming the race's first fatality this year.

Cherpin's death takes to 27, including 22 motorcyclists, the number of competitors who have lost their lives since the inaugural Dakar Rally in 1979.

Argentina's Kevin Benavides won the motorbike category, leading home defending champion Ricky Brabec of the United States by 4:56 in a first Honda 1-2 since 1987.

Briton Sam Sunderland, the 2017 champion, finished third.

Benavides, who broke his nose in a crash on the fifth stage that saw his helmet shattered, became the first South American to win the category.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 11:17:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/motorsport/mr-dakar-lives-up-to-his-name/article33583203.ece

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