There was a fair amount of chaos in the Peruvian dunes on the penultimate stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally. For many it was a final chance to claw back some serious time on their rivals. The soft sands of Pisco ended up biting hard and took the Dakar’s most successful ever competitor out of the race.

13-time Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) and co-driver David Castera (FRA) started stage nine in determined fashion. They had fallen out of the podium positions on the previous stage and were battling to get back into the Top 3. Unfortunately, their MINI John Cooper Works Buggy suffered a hard impact in the dunes after 26 kilometres of the stage and the pair’s Dakar ended right there.

Stephane Peterhansel helping David Castera in the Mini of the X-Raid Mini JCW Team after their crash in the dunes during stage 9 of the Dakar Rally, Pisco looping back to Pisco, Peru, on January 16, 2019.

“We came over a dune and landed head-on in the next dune. Everything went so fast that David (Castera), who was looking at the roadbook at that moment, didn’t expect the impact.” – Stéphane Peterhansel

The men Peterhansel was chasing were race leaders Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and Mathieu Baumel (FRA). This duo in their Toyota Hilux suffered no such problems as their near faultless Dakar drive continued today. The 2015 Dakar winners are now just one stage away from recapturing their crown.

“Tomorrow we just need to bring it home to Lima. Always we try to do our best because it’s really not easy here. Everyday we work really hard to have a good speed and not to make any mistakes.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah

Al-Attiyah is being supported every step of the way by his Toyota team-mate Giniel De Villiers (ZAF). De Villiers is sticking as close as he can to Al-Attiyah out on the stage, just in case he can lend a hand along the way.

Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz chasing their team mates Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel in the Toyota Hilux of the Toyota Gazoo Racing, in the dunes during stage 9 of the Dakar Rally, Pisco looping back to Pisco, Peru, on January 16, 2019.

“We just tried to follow the tracks of Nasser in case he needed us, but he did a great job. For us as a team our aim is to get Nasser to the line in first place.” – Giniel De Villiers

Bouncing back from a tricky start to the Dakar’s second week has been Kuba Przygonski (POL). The 2018 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup winner capitalised on misfortune for Peterhansel, Sébastien Loeb (FRA) and Cyril Despres (FRA) today. The Pole now sits fourth overall with a single stage remaining, 31m behind Loeb who occupies the final podium place.

“We’re so happy that we’ve been able to be competitive in our car against the other teams.” – Kuba Przygonski