Stephane Peterhansel admitted he was “frustrated” to finish second on the 2014 Dakar Rally after handing the lead to X-raid Mini team-mate Nani Roma.
Following a troubled opening week, Peterhansel had recovered from nearly 40 minutes behind to catch long-time leader Roma with three stages to go. But their X-raid team then instructed its drivers to back off and stop taking risks.
This appeared to guarantee Roma victory, only for Peterhansel to take the lead from him on the penultimate stage. Peterhansel then deliberately slowed on Saturday’s run to finish to ensure that Roma took the win.
The 12-time Dakar winner insisted he felt no animosity towards Roma, but was unhappy at how the event had turned out.
“Let’s look on the bright side of things. The car didn’t miss a beat, it took anything we threw at it, like usual, and we had lots of fun driving,” he said. “But I’m frustrated with the final result.
“The third thing I want to say is that Nani’s my friend, and I’m pleased to see him happy because it’s been his dream for 10 years, since he shifted to a car.”
Roma admitted it had been a very tough final week as he lost time to Peterhansel and feared his first Dakar win in a car would disappear.
“I don’t know if this was the most stressful thing I’d ever done, but it was very tough,” he said. “The second week, with difficult, long stages, wasn’t easy. I’m going to revel in this. Ten years to the day after winning on a motorcycle, I’ve won in a car.”