Highlights from the first week of the 2017 Dakar Rally, with Stephanie Peterhansel and Sébastien Loeb currently leading a Peugeot 1-2
It probably won’t come as much of a surprise, given the team’s rally-winning performance last year, that Peugeot currently heads the 2017 Dakar Rally standings. The event though has been far from a cakewalk for the French outfit.
Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah threw a well-oiled spanner into the works early on by taking victory on the opening stage, Peugeot’s lead charge – Carlos Sainz and Sébastien Loeb – only 4th and 6th as the two-wheel drive setup struggled against Toyota’s more conventional 4×4. Al-Attiyah’s chances of a third Dakar win though were stymied following an oil leak – and subsequent fire – on the second stage, and impact damage on the third stage that ultimately led to his retirement from the event. Problems would similarly strike Sainz, the two-time World Champion and 2010 Dakar winner rolling his Peugeot 3008 DKR out of stage four, second place overall, and the event in total.
By the end of stage seven, that left 15-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel and nine-time World Rally Champion Loeb in front by almost two minutes over the next closest Toyota Hilux, Nani Roma. But even this came with issues. Loeb, following victory on stage 2, looked set to increase his lead only for engine issues to blight his run on stage four, navigation issues (a whole issue in itself for several drivers) further damaging his time. Teammate – and five-time Dakat bikes champion – Cyril Despres took advantage with his first stage victory for Peugeot on day four, and currently lies fourth on the leader board behind new Toyota incumbent Roma.
More than enough action then for Red Bull to include in its highlight reel from week one, but if you want to see a little more of the action up and down the ‘field’, you can check out day-by-day highlights from Dakar’s official YouTube channel.