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."