Silk Way Rally – Leg 13 : Peugeot a step closer to Silk Way victory
Team Peugeot collected its ninth victory from the 12 stages contested so far.
The Peugeot 2008 DKR produced further evidence of its reliability and speed today (Friday) on the Silk Way Rally as Team Peugeot Total collected its ninth victory from the 12 stages contested so far. The squad rounded off its performance on Leg 13 with the third- and fifth-fastest times.
Cyril Despres and David Castera put in yet another surefooted performance today as they shrugged off the pressure to go slightly further clear at the top of the Silk Way Rally’s overall leaderboard. They posted the third-best time on the event’s penultimate stage on which they were first on the road from start to finish.
After cascading down the order due to a time penalty handed in the wake of Thursday’s action, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena bounced back to pick up today’s fifth-best time despite suffering from an unfavourable start order (16th). By the time they arrived in the dunes, the sand had been ploughed up by the trucks running ahead of them. This clearly added to the stage’s inherent challenge but the Franco-Monegasque duo survived the ordeal remarkably well.
Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret notched up yet another stage victory and reported that they had rarely had so much fun in the Peugeot 2008 DKR.
The final leg of the 2016 Silk Way Rally will take survivors from Wuhai to the Inner Mongolia capital Hohhot on Saturday. The 754km run will include a 261km competitive section that nobody can afford to take lightly, with more dunes continuing the trend of recent days.
Type of terrain: 80% track / 20% off-road: chiefly sandy ground, plus tall dunes
Conditions: Twisty tracks, tall dunes and lakes
Weather: Sunshine; average temperature 28.7°C; peak temperature 39.2°C
Average Speed: 76kph
Bruno Famin (Team Manager, Team Peugeot Total / Director, Peugeot Sport): “It’s been another positive day but we cannot let our guard drop. Saturday will be another long day when anything can happen. Our mission will be to keep Cyril in the lead while sparing his car. As soon as they arrive in Hohhot tomorrow, all the cars will go straight into parc ferme, so we won’t be able to work on them ahead of Sunday’s long road section to Beijing. Whichever way it goes, we are thrilled by the way the Peugeot 2008 DKR has performed over the long distance we have covered so far. It was competitive again today, just as it has been on all the types of terrain our crews have faced since the start in Moscow.”
Stéphane Peterhansel (Leg: 1st / Overall 15th): “That was a nice long stage with around 100km over relatively hard-packed dunes with lots of navigation. It lasted almost five hours and we managed to gradually pick off the cars that started ahead of us before settling in behind Cyril. Our car was a pleasure to drive and the whole Team Peugeot Total operation has made impressive progress. We are having fun every day.”
Sébastien Loeb (Leg: 5th / Overall: 8th): “It wasn’t a particularly exciting stage for us. We were penalised by our late starting order this morning, amidst several runners in the Trucks category. We found a decent pace but we were often slowed by other competitors. Not only that but the conditions had also been worsened by the front-runners and the dunes were quite churned up. We got stuck again and this time we dug the car free ourselves. We are doing the best we can and continuing to learn. Every day we feel a little more confident.”
Cyril Despres (Leg: 3rd / Overall: 1st): “It was another good day which saw us gain more experience running at the front of the field throughout the stage. The only person who managed to catch us was Stéphane who then stayed in our slipstream. It was a hard but enjoyable stage, and it means we’re now closer than ever to the finish in Beijing. It will be good when we arrive there! There’s just one more competitive section to come but it includes some 60km of off-road driving. David and I feel confident and we are very focused. We are fortunate to be able to count on the support of everyone at Peugeot Sport. I’m not new to motorsport and I know how to handle this sort of situation.”
Provisional classification – Leg 13 (Alashan-Wuhai)
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) / Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA), Peugeot 2008 DKR, 4h50min05s
2. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) / Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS), Mini, +3min27s
3. Cyril Despres (FRA) / David Castera (FRA), Peugeot 2008 DKR, +5min40s
4. Yazeed Al Rajhi (SAU) / Timo Gottschalk (DEU), Mini, +6min37s
5. Sébastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MC), Peugeot 2008 DKR, +7min40s
Provisional leaderboard after Leg 13
1. Cyril Despres (FRA) / David Castera (FRA), Peugeot 2008 DKR, 32h25min41s
2. Yazeed Al Rajhi (SAU) / Timo Gottschalk (DEU), Mini, +31min27s
3. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) / Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS), Mini, +51min51s
4. Harry Hunt (GBR) / Andreas Schulz (DEU) , Mini, +1h57min02s
5. Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ) / Anton Nikolaev (RUS), Mini, +2h10min07s
8. Sébastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MC), Peugeot 2008 DKR, +4h04min55s
15. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) / Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA), Peugeot 2008 DKR, +9h20min57s
Silk Way Rally Stage 12: Loeb looses his way ! - video
Peugeot and Despres victorious in Silk Way Rally