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Peterhansel extends record to 14 Dakar victories; Argentine Benavides wins in Motorcycles

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Jan 15 (Reuters) – French veteran Stéphane Peterhansel celebrated another victory in the Dakar Rally on Friday, extending his record to 14 titles, eighth in the car category, after two grueling weeks in the deserts of Saudi Arabia.

The 55-year-old X-Raid Mini JCW racer, nicknamed “Monsieur Dakar” for his extraordinary mastery of the race, first won the motorcycle endurance test in 1991 and switched to cars after another five wins out of two. wheel.

Argentine Kevin Benavides, with Honda, became the first South American to win the motorcycle category at the end of the twelfth and final stage, which ended in Jeddah.

Manuel Andújar gave Argentina a double with the victory in the quad category, while the Chilean Francisco “Chaleco” López won in light vehicles.

The annual rally began in 1978 as a race from Paris to the Senegalese capital Dakar, but moved out of Africa for safety reasons in 2009. It is now held entirely in Saudi Arabia, after several years competing in America. from the south.

Friday’s finale was marred by news of the death of French amateur driver Pierre Cherpin, who had been in an induced coma since crashing on stage seven.

Peterhansel, who led the race from stage two but only won one of 12, finished 14 minutes and 51 seconds ahead of Qatar’s three-time Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah in a Toyota.

The Spanish Carlos Sainz, current champion and teammate of Peterhansel, prevailed in the last stage and finished third overall.

(Report by Alan Baldwin in London; edited in Spanish by Tomás Cobos)

Ben Oakley
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