Stephane Peterhansel hinted he may bring an end to his illustrious career after securing a remarkable 12th Dakar Rally triumph on Saturday.
The 50-year-old Frenchman claimed his sixth victory in a car – and Peugeot’s first success in the event since 1990 – after safely navigating the 13th and final stage from Villa Carlos Paz to Rosario.
Peterhansel had previously secured half a dozen Dakar wins on two wheels, his maiden title coming back in 1991.
“It’s extraordinary. The pressure was very high, but we came through,” said the champion, who beat last year’s winner – Nasser Al-Attiyah – by almost 35 minutes.
“Crossing the finish line was a release after the extremely stressful last three days. I’m also delighted to write a new page in the history of Peugeot because the guys in the team have been working their socks off for two years.
“Some of my wins count more than others, but this one’s definitely in the top three.
“It’s too early to think about the future. One thing’s for sure, getting the same number of victories on a bike and in a car was the last big goal in my career.
“Now that it’s done, I don’t think there are many things left to motivate me.”
Another Peugeot driver, Sebastien Loeb, finished ninth on his Dakar debut, having seemingly been on course for victory prior to a crash on stage eight.
“We’ll see how we can optimise our preparation for next year, but it leaves you wanting more, even if you’ve suffered,” said Loeb, the nine-time World Rally champion.
KTM’s Toby Price became the first Australian winner of the event by taking glory in the motorcycle race.