Peterhansels triumphed in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies
Stephane and Andrea Peterhansel are the winners of the 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. The 13-time Dakar Rally winner and his wife, who were sharing the #301 Mini John Cooper Works Buggy of X-Raid Team, finished fourth at Rallye du Maroc, the last round of the World Cup, securing enough points to take the championship title.
Although he has already won the Dakar 13 times, it is the first World Cup title for Stephane Peterhansel. He collected just three points more than defending champion Nasser A-Attiyah.
For Peterhansel, the title crowns a great first season alongside his wife Andrea in the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy. They won the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge together and finished second in Kazakhstan.
Their main rival during the season, Nasser Al-Attiyah, travelled to Morocco with two wins to his name and a nine-point lead. At first, it looked as though the Qatari would emerge triumphant, until a technical issue thwarted his challenge on the penultimate stage.
However, the Peterhansels also made it exciting: running second at the time, they rolled their car with 18 kilometres of the same stage remaining. Fortunately, they were able to get the Buggy running again and to get home fast enough to avoid dropping any further down the field than fifth place overall. The X-raid mechanics worked overnight to repair the car and get it back on the road in time for the final special stage.
The winner of the Rallye du Maroc was the South African Giniel de Villiers in a Toyota Hilux which he was sharing with Spanish navigator Alex Haro. The Spanish crew of Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz finished second in a Mini JCW Buggy.
“That was a special end of the rally. Yesterday the beginning was great – the Mini was perfect and the speed was there too. We were fast and had fun. We were leading in the special stage, the rally and the World Cup! But just before the finish I changed the line because I thought it was faster. But I missed an about five meter high cliff and we crashed.
I thought that the race and the title were over for us. But after a few minutes we decided to repair the car. We managed that and were able to finish the stage. We lost over one hour, but it was enough to finish fifth overall. Today was all about arriving. It’s a great feeling and very emotional to win the title together. I have the feeling that we can win the Dakar with the Buggy,”
Stephane Peterhansel said.
Photos: Red Bull, X-Raid,