In what was probably the toughest race in many years, the gruelling Dakar Race was wrapped up on Sunday at Dakar in Senegal.

In what was probably the toughest race in many years, the gruelling Dakar Race was wrapped up on Sunday at Dakar in Senegal.

Stephane Peterhansel became only the second person to win the Dakar in two categories when he took the overall Car title in his Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution. The win this year also gave him his seventh Dakar title, ahead of defending champion and teammate, Hiroshi Masuoka in second place.

Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Francois Jordaan completed the final special stage fifth place and retained their 7th overall place in the Dakar 2004.

Jean-Louis Schlesser completed the podium with his third place.

Joan Roma, who has never finished a Dakar in five attempts, finally struck gold when he finished the 18 day rally raid to clinch his first Dakar title.

"It's a dream," said the delighted Roma. "When I was little, my mother gave me a book on the history of the Dakar, from its creation to 1985. Every night I would read it. I would have never imagined riding a bike one day, compete on a Dakar and win it!"

Alfie Cox took it easy on the final stage and finished in ninth position on Sunday. With this result, he captured the fourth place on the overall Bike standings.

“I am very happy with a fourth place, I gave it a very good shot this year, and I finished. Now, last year’s accident is something of the past, 2004 is ahead and I can very proudly say I have conquered the most difficult Dakar race I have ever entered,” said Cox at the end of today’s stage.

With Roma in the first spot, Frenchmen Richard Sainct and Cyril Despres occupied the second and third spots on the podium.

Another South African, Cornel de Villiers, already had the lead in the Experimental Class for Quads when the race moved on to African soil. Though it was not an easy race, he managed to maintain his lead and finished on top at Sunday’s finish.