Dakar 2021 | Final report for cars
Stephane Peterhansel along with co-driver Edouard Boulanger of the X-Raid Mini JCW team has taken the title at the 2021 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. This is his 14th Dakar title, with his first one dating back 30 years to 1991. Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Matthieu Baumel of the Toyota Gazoo Racing team finished second in the grueling rally, while Peterhansel’s teammate Carlos Sainz along with co-driver Lucas Cruz finished third.
The 43rd edition of the Dakar Rally kicked off on January 3, with the first stage seeing participants travel from Jeddah to Bisha, and the arduous rally ended with its 12th stage on January 15, back in Jeddah. Stephane Peterhansel, the winner of the 2021 Dakar Rally got onto P1 in the overall rankings right from the end of the first stage and stayed right on top till the very end. Al-Attiyah was second in the general rankings from the end of the second stage and tried really hard to get ahead of Peterhansel, getting really close on many occasions. Carlos Sainz of the X-Raid Mini JCW team was another beacon of consistency, as he stayed in P3 for most of the rally.
Peterhansel, despite getting only one stage victory, won the rally because of the sheer consistency he showcased. He’d almost always be in the top three and on some occasions in the top five. His teammate Sainz, however, wasn’t able to get the outcome he hoped for due to mechanical issues and navigational errors in the various stages.
Al-Attiyah, in his Toyota Gazoo Racing Hilux, was belting out killer performances with five stage victories, six if you count the prologue as well. But his car got more punctures than he anticipated, affecting his overall time. Besides, on more occasions than one, the X-Raid Mini JCW buggy proved to be more adept at handling some sections of the rally, which also worked in Peterhansel’s favor.
Sebastien Loeb and Nani Roma of team BRX had their first outing in the Prodrive Hunter and it turned out to be a mixed bag. The car, considering it was its first outing, performed adequately for Roma, who managed a P5 finish overall. But, nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb got the short end of the stick, as despite all his attempts the car seemed riddled with mechanical issues, a broken suspension, and many other issues, ending his 2021 Dakar journey in Stage 8.
The 2021 Dakar Rally was one filled with highs, lows and adrenaline-filled, high-octane automotive thrills. No wonder, then, that the Dakar rally is considered a gritty and grueling rally, with the men and women who compete in and finish it considered true heroes.