Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel may have started his racing career first on top of a skateboard, then holding on tight to a motorbike – but it was behind the wheel of a car that he truly found his forte.
It's no wonder that Stéphane is the most successful driver in the history of the Dakar Rally. With a wealth of experience to hand, he knows exactly how to keep his cool when the heat is on. The Frenchman knows what he needs to do at every stage and at every hurdle with puzzling accuracy. Over the years, his extraordinary discipline has consistently placed him head and shoulders above his competitors... and, more often than not, onto the podium.
In June 2014 Stéphane confirmed his move to Team Peugeot Total for the 2015 Dakar Rally, where he joined fellow Red Bull drivers Cyril Despres and Carlos Sainz – three legendary drivers, each at the wheel of their own PEUGEOT 2008 DKR. He ultimately finished in 11th place overall.
At the 2015 China Silk Road Rally, a dress rehearsal for the 2016 Dakar, Stéphane and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret won the event by over 30 minutes to give Team Peugeot Total a first outright victory. The success was an excellent confidence boost for the team as it prepared to take the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR16 to South America in 2016.
That success continued at the 2016 Dakar itself, where Peterhansel put in a commanding display of consistency to seal a first Dakar win for the French manufacturer since 1990 and a 12th title for himself.
"It's extraordinary. The pressure was very high, but we came through. Some of my wins count more than others, but this one's definitely in the top three," he commented after crossing the finish line to make it six Dakar wins in a car, to match the six he won on bikes.
Stéphane and longtime co-driver Jean-Paul returned to represent Team Peugeot Total at the 2017 Dakar where, despite a race-long battle with team-mate Sébastien Loeb, they finished triumphant once more.
Speaking after his 13th victory was sealed, Peterhansel said, "This is the victory of experience. Sometimes, I knew I wasn't in a phase to follow Seb, so I opened the way for him. The spirit inside the team was very good. There were no team orders, it was just a fight between drivers who have the same car. A 14th victory? Why not!"Read more