Carlos Sainz claimed overall victory at Dakar 2018, despite finishing ninth in the final stage, giving Peugeot its third consecutive win.

“It was a very difficult rally for me. It’s probably been the most difficult Dakar that I’ve ever taken part in, even counting the ones in Africa,” said the 55-year-old Sainz.

South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers won Stage 14 to finish third overall, behind teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah (third on the day) in second, giving Toyota Gazoo Racing SA two podium spots.

Peugeot’s Stephane Peterhansel finished second on the stage to settle in fourth position overall.

“We always knew that Stephane was going to push on the last stage, but making up eight minutes on such a fast WRC-style stage isn’t easy,” said De Villiers. “At the same time, we had to make sure we made no mistakes, and one slip could cost us the podium.”

“It is always special to win a stage on the Dakar, and this year we got a win right at the end,” said De Villiers. “But more than that, we brought the Toyota Hilux home on the podium, just behind our teammates Nasser and Mathieu . What a fantastic feeling.”

On Stage 13, Toyota’s Bernhard ten Brinke – who had started the day in fourth overall – was forced to retire with an engine problem.

South Africa’s Hennie de Klerk in a South Racing Volkswagen Amarok finished Stage 12 in 25th place, seeing him finish 28th overall. Lucio Alvarez, with South African navigator Rob Howie beside him in a Hilux, posted the fourth-fastest time on the 14th stage, enough to finish tenth overall.

Stage 14:

  1. G. De Villiers (Toyota) 01:26:09
  2. S. Peterhansel (Peugeot) +00:00:40
  3. N. Al-Attiyah (Toyota) +00:00:41
  4. L. Alvarez (Toyota) +00:00:43
  5. P. Van Merksteijn (Toyota) +00:02:06
  6. J. Przygonski (X-Raid) +00:02:11
  7. M. Prokop (MP-Sports) +00:02:13
  8. S. Halpern (South Racing) +00:02:25
  9. C. Sainz (Peugeot) +00:03:19
  10. S. Al Qassimi (PH Sport) +00:03:37

Overall:

  1. C. Sainz (Peugeot) 49:16:18
  2. N. Al-Attiyah (Toyota) +00:43:40
  3. G. De Villiers (Toyota) +01:16:41
  4. S. Peterhansel (Peugeot) +01:25:29
  5. J. Przygonski (X-Raid) +02:45:24
  6. S. Al Qassimi (PH Sport) +04:20:58
  7. M. Prokop (MP-Sports) +07:20:49
  8. P. Van Merksteijn (Toyota) +07:41:28
  9. S. Halpern (South Racing) +09:08:10
  10. L. Alvarez (Toyota) +09:18:46