Five-time Dakar Rally motorcycle champion Cyril Despres is satisfied with the progress he made in the 2016 event after ending up as Peugeot’s second-best finisher.
While teammate Stephane Peterhansel was the one who celebrated victory at the finish, Despres, contesting his second Dakar in the car category, was delighted to have finished seventh overall.
"I have spent many hours in the car and sacrificed a lot of time, away from my family, in order to improve from last year,” Despres told Motorsport.com.
"It is rewarding to see I wasn’t far off the others in my second year, even though they have around 15-20 years of experience in cars. It makes me hopeful for the future.”
Despres was the first Peugeot driver ruled out of contention for victory with an early turbo failure - but he managed to bounce back and finish the rally seventh, even beating rookie sensation Sebastien Loeb.
"The layout of the first week did not favour me,” claimed Despres, who fared better racing in the dunes.
”There were a few special stages in the desert and we always managed to be in the top four. I believe we could have done better with more stages like those.
"We need more mileage in the car to get more confidence and therefore more speed. My plan is to return for more next year."
Interview by Luis Ramirez