2016 DAKAR: PEUGEOT ON TOP OF THE WORLD WITH "PETER" AS PRICE OPENS HIS ACCOUNT 218 vehicles (84 motorcycles, 23 quads, 67 cars and 44 trucks) managed to finish the 2016 edition of the Dakar, which saw Stéphane Peterhansel claim his sixth win in the car category after another six in the motorcycle race for a grand total of twelve. Mister Dakar, the leader of the Peugeot dream team that dominated the race with nine stage wins out of twelve, expanded his palmarès with a symbolic victory that restored the Lion brand to its former glory 26 years after Ari Vatanen's last win at the wheel of a 405. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Mini) and Giniel de Villiers (Toyota Hilux) completed the podium. Toby Price posted a flawless performance in his second Dakar participation to win the motorcycle category and become the first Dakar champion from Australia. This edition was also a watershed for the category, with five rookies in the final top 10. Meanwhile, the quad race was a classic comeback story, with the two Patronelli Bros. running the show and Marcos at the forefront. 2012 champion Gerard de Rooy claimed his second Dakar win in the truck category. Cars: "Peter" rolls a double six!Whatever Jean de la Fontaine may say, lions can also become hares and win long-distance races. In his defence, the 17th-century fabulist could not have foreseen the ups-and-downs of the Dakar or the impact of the dunes of Fiambalá on the race, let alone the performances of the Peugeot 2008 DKR after a lacklustre 2015 edition or Stéphane Peterhansel's supreme dominance. All these factors helped decide the outcome of the 38th edition, which was marked by the ascendancy of the Peugeot buggies, first arrogant, then uncertain, and finally triumphant thanks to the talent of their leader, who won his 12th Dakar! Halfway through the race, the dream team was in the lead with a trident headed by Sébastien Loeb, who eventually floundered on the dunes and the ríos, while Carlos Sainz pushed his car too hard for it to survive the journey to Rosario. In two days, the three-man act gave way to a one-man show with the climax in the stage to La Rioja, in the heart of the dunes of Fiambalá: "Mister Dakar" finished an hour ahead of the competition and then played it safe all the way to Rosario, escorted by luxury guardian angels Loeb and Despres. "Peter" never really faced any competition, with Nasser Al-Attiyah acknowledging he was merely playing the antagonist's role in someone else's play. However, the defending champion got stronger and more aggressive in the second week, capping his trek through Argentina and Bolivia with two stage wins and a silver medal that seemed a pie in the sky when he left Salta after the rest day. Behind the Qatari, Giniel de Villiers gave another master class in consistency to claim his fifth podium spot in thirteen starts. The Toyota was unable to threaten the Peugeot any more than the Mini, but four Hilux cars finished in the top 10 thanks to the solid performances of Leeroy Poulter (fifth) and Vladimir Vasilyev (eighth). However, Mini dominated the top 10, where Nasser Al-Attiyah was closely followed by top rookie Mikko Hirvonen (fifth), Nani Roma (seventh) and another rising star making his debut, Harry Hunt (tenth). Motorcycles: Price leads a whole new generationNot even Stéphane Peterhansel, Marc Coma and Cyril Despres, the most decorated competitors in the history of the Dakar, managed to do what Toby Price did this year —winning the most prestigious rally raid in the world in his second participation. "It's an amazing record", blurted the KTM rider at the finish in Rosario. "To be the first Australian to win the Dakar in all divisions is crazy." Price built his success on a surprising degree of maturity. The 28-year-old lad read the two weeks of racing like an open book. "I pushed the days I needed to push and I looked after the bike the most in the marathon stages", he explains. Toby Price made no mistakes in this department. The Australian made the most of a reliable KTM that won its fifteenth Dakar in a row, skilfully avoiding the pitfalls that swallowed his main rivals and seizing the lead just after the rest day. Joan Barreda and Paulo Gonçalves, both pretenders to the crown, failed to reach the finish. The Spaniard was hit by a mechanical near Uyuni, while the Portuguese rider saw his hopes go up in smoke in Fiambalá, also due to engine troubles. Bolivia was also the graveyard of Ruben Faria and Matthias Walkner's podium ambitions. The Portuguese suffered a broken hand and the Austrian a broken femur. Slovak Štefan Svitko and Chilean Pablo Quintanilla had a better Dakar and escorted Toby Price on the final podium. The 38th Dakar also consecrated a new generation of riders who made their debut this year. Argentinian Kevin Benavides was the South American revelation and finished fourth overall after winning the third stage. Antoine Méo fought Kevin Benavides and Pablo Quintanilla for a podium place for most of the race. However, a heavy fall on the day before the finish in Rosario pushed the five-time enduro world champion down to seventh place overall. The two-time winner of the Enduropale du Touquet, Adrien Van Beveren, also rode strongly and overtook Méo for sixth place in the closing stage. American Ricky Brabec, who flew the flag in the general classification for Honda, and Spaniard Armand Monleón rounded off the top 10. Quads: Marcos Patronelli keeps it in the familyThe Patronelli Bros. quickly dispelled any doubts on their ability to stage a victorious comeback to the Dakar. Alejandro and Marcos were in the mix from the start, but they also benefited from the other favourites' bad luck. After last year's winner, Rafał Sonik, was forced out of the race by mechanical problems, it was the turn of his predecessor Ignacio Casale to go home with two stages… and a broken collarbone. The pace set by the Patronelli Bros. quickly cleared up any doubts except which of the two would take the trophy in Rosario. The younger brother, Marcos, eventually outgunned Alejandro and overtook him both in the general classification (by just 5′23″) and in the number of overall wins (three to two). Meanwhile, their closest rival, South Africa's Brian Baragwanath, finished 1 h 41′ back. Trucks: Gerard de Rooy and Iveco reign supremeThis time round, the boot was on the other foot for Kamaz. The blue trucks came to Buenos Aires with the defending champion, Ayrat Mardeev, as well as last year's number 2 (Eduard Nikolaev) and number 3 (Andrey Karginov), but they will leave Rosario with quite an empty bag (three stages for Nikolaev and zero days in the lead). Their inspired and competitive rivals at Iveco and Man put paid to their chances. After 2012, this was the second South American edition to feature just one Kamaz on the podium (Mardeev). At least back then they could say they were bang in the middle of the post-Chagin transition. With the Kamaz trucks found lacking, Gerard de Rooy moved into the lead in stage 8 and never looked back. It is his second win, after the one he took in 2012, as destiny would have it. The heir, De Rooy, finished with a comfortable margin and three stage wins under his belt. The race was energised by an old acquaintance, cousin Hans Stacey (Man), who won the 2007 edition and the closing stage this year, as well as a surprising Federico Villagra (Iveco), who finished third in his first participation in the truck category. The constructors' results also reveal a new balance of power in the category: Kamaz only got two trucks in the top 10, compared with Iveco's four.