Rally legend Carlos Sainz has scored his second Dakar victory in the 2018 edition of the event.
Two-time World Rally champion Sainz had not finished any of the prior three Dakars he had contested as a Peugeot works driver, yet 2018 proved fourth time lucky for the Spaniard.
Having survived a high-attrition opening leg in Peru, Sainz emerged as rally leader courtesy of back-to-back stage wins either side of the mid-rally rest day in Bolivian capital La Paz.
These would be his only stage wins of the event, but his path to overall victory over the rest of the rally was relatively smooth – aside from a controversial penalty for an alleged incident with a quad rider that was ultimately rescinded.
Sainz was three minutes off the pace in the final stage of this year’s Dakar, reaching the finish with a 44-minute lead over nearest rival Nasser Al-Attiyah in the overall standings.
His triumph means Peugeot’s works team bows out of the Dakar with three wins in four attempts, its drivers having topped 25 stages from a total of 48.
Saturday’s test – a 120km loop near Cordoba in Argentina – was topped by Toyota’s Giniel de Villiers.
The South African was 40 seconds quicker than nearest rival Stephane Peterhansel, and joined team-mate Al-Attiyah on the overall podium.
X-raid Mini’s highest-placed driver Jakub Przygonski was over an hour behind Peterhansel in fifth, while privateer Peugeot entrant Khalid Al Qassimi and WRC regular Martin Prokop finished sixth and seventh respectively.