User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Peterhansel, Despres retain Dakar Rally titles

New customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - France's Stephane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres defended their car and motorbike titles in the Dakar Rally on Saturday.

Peterhansel, leading the race since the second stage on Jan. 6, became the most successful driver in the world's toughest rally with his fifth victory in cars to go along with a record six on a motorbike.

He dedicated his win to Jean-Claude Olivier, the team manager during his motorbike victories who died in a traffic accident in France last weekend.

Peterhansel is the first person to win the car category twice since the rally moved from Africa to South America in 2009 for security reasons.

With a commanding overall lead, his Mini finished about four minutes behind teammate Nani Roma, the winner of the fast, rainy 14th stage into Santiago.

Overall, Peterhansel beat 2009 winner Giniel de Villiers of South Africa by 42 minutes, and by nearly 90 over another teammate, third-place Leonid Novitskiy of Russia.

The favored X-raid team spearheaded by Peterhansel placed four cars in the top five. Roma, last year's runner-up, was fourth, and Orlando Terranova of Argentina was fifth.

``A race is never won from the beginning. The team did a cracking job,'' Peterhansel said after his 25th Dakar. ``We never stopped, we never had a mechanical. We only had to drive as fast as we could.

``On the other hand, my co-driver Jean-Paul (Cottret) did an amazing job navigating. We never had to ease up. We always maintained a high pace, apart from the last couple of days, when we started dosing our efforts. This is the first time since I started racing in cars that we've finished a race without a single mechanical problem. This is the best car I've ever driven.''

Despres' fifth title on a KTM tied him in rally history with the inaugural Dakar winner, countryman Cyril Neveu. They're second only to Peterhansel in bike titles.

Despres was favored for the win after his rival in recent years, three-time champ Marc Coma of Spain, didn't enter because of an injured shoulder. Despres was penalized for changing engines in mid-race but regained the lead last Tuesday and held on.

He was 17th on Saturday, four minutes behind stage winner Ruben Faria of Portugal.

In the overall, Despres was 10:43 ahead of teammate Faria, and 18:48 ahead of Chile's Francisco Lopez.

The Frenchman was eloquent in explaining the grueling challenges of the Dakar.

``I went for it with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you,'' Despres said. ``In the end, I've got a good reason to be very happy. The day when winning the Dakar becomes easy, it won't be interesting any more.

``It's too long, it's too tough, it's too hot, it's too cold, you've got to rise early in the morning, you've got to find your way out of the dune mazes in Peru and Chile, you've got to tackle the stones and cactuses on the courses near Cordoba (Argentina). It's just too tricky for it to be easy to win.''

The rally began on Jan. 5 in the Peruvian capital of Lima and wound its way south through the deserts and mountains of Peru, Argentina and Chile.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

Roberts: Pennsylvania 400 Preview
NASCAR blew it on Indy rules package
Kyle Busch wins Indy, comeback continues
Gordon's final race at Brickyard a disaster
Torrence wins at Mopar Mile-High Nat'ls
Vettel bests Red Bulls, wins Hungarian GP
Hamilton, Rosberg struggle for Mercedes
Kimber-Smith, Guasch win Northeast GP
Kyle Busch captures Indy's Xfinity race
MORE HEADLINES Gold Membership
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy Sager Bomb