STAGE 7  | LA PAZ - UYUNI 
After the rest day at La Paz, the crews embarked on one of the biggest challenges of the entire Dakar Rally: the first 425-kilometre section of marathon stage, with no service for two days. Former Dakar winner Carlos Sainz now heads the overall standings by more than an hour, after his team mate Stéphane Peterhansel hit trouble, falling down to third in the overall standings. All the PEUGEOT crews continue tomorrow, having carried out any mechanical work needed themselves overnight at the Uyuni bivouac.

Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz claimed their second stage win for PEUGEOT this year as they moved into the overall lead: the third of the four Peugeot crews to have done so at some point during the event. No problems at all for the Spanish duo, whose winning margin on the stage was 12 minutes.
 
Cyril Despres/David Castera performed their role as ‘guardian angels’ perfectly today, coming to the aid of their team mates Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret. They helped the stranded crew fix their PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, losing more time themselves in the process but allowing ‘Mr Dakar’ to continue in the rally that he has made his own.
 
For Peterhansel and Cottret, the problem started when they were overtaking a motorbike at kilometre 186. They didn’t see a rock in the dust, breaking the shock absorber and suspension triangle, which stopped them in their tracks. With the help of their French team mates, they were able to get going again after about two hours.

Carlos Sainz (PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi n°303)
1st on stage 7, 1st in overall classification

“Actually, it was quite difficult on the whole. At the beginning, it was tricky with a lot of off-piste driving, then it got a little easier and luckily there were no problems for us. I’m not thinking about having the overall lead. It’s just a matter of survival at this point, there’s still such a long way to go. Of course, things are a little bit different now, but we need just to stay focussed and take everything one day at a time.”

 
Stéphane Peterhansel (PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi n°300)
20th on stage 7, 3rd in overall classification

“I came out of the tracks a little bit, I’m not sure why, and I didn’t even see the rock; I just felt the impact. It destroyed the whole of the rear of the car: shock absorbers, suspension, transmission, the lot. There’s still a lot to do tonight: the car isn’t what it was. We took some parts off Cyril’s car and left him there; we were about 1h50m fixing it. We’ve got no physical damage to ourselves and we feel fine, it’s just our morale that’s been hurt. But I’m still smiling; my career’s not on the line here after all.”

 
DID YOU KNOW?
When Peugeot won with Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret in 2016 in the 2008 DKR, it was the first two-wheel drive victory on the Dakar since 2000, with the 2008 DKR also being the first two-wheel drive car that Peugeot had ever brought to the rally.
 
WHAT’S NEXT?
STAGE 8 (Sunday 14 January): UYUNI > TUPIZA. 584 kilometres, of which 498 are competitive
The second part of the marathon stage, from Uyuni to Tupiza, runs over the second-longest special stage of the rally, at 498 kilometres. It is likely to be one of the toughest too, with crews needing to navigate challenging sand dunes at 3500 metres above sea level.

CLASSIFICATION OF STAGE 7:
1. Carlos Sainz (ESP) / Lucas Cruz (ESP), PEUGEOT 3008 DKR Maxi, 4h49m26s
2. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) / Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZAF), Toyota 4WD, +12m05s
3. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT) / Matthieu Baumel (FRA), Toyota 4WD, +14m19s
4. Jakub Przygonski (POL) / Tom Colsoul (BEL), Mini 4WD, +20m56s 
5. Martin Prokop (CZE) / Jan Tomanek (CZE), Ford 4WD, +23m57s
6. Lucio Alvarez (ARG) / Robert Howie (ZAF), Toyota 4WD, +28m49s
7. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NED) / Michel Perin (FRA), Toyota 4WD, +31m33s
8. Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi (ARE) / Xavier Panseri (FRA), Peugeot 3008DKR, +39m30s
9. Boris Garafulic (CHL) / Felipe Palmeiro (PRT), Mini 4WD, +54m42s
10. Peter Van Merksteijn (NED) / Maciej Marton (POL), Toyota 4WD, +57m21s
20. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) / Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, +1h47m56s
TBC. Cyril Despres (FRA) / David Castera (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, +TBC
 
CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 7:
1. Carlos Sainz (ESP) / Lucas Cruz (ESP), PEUGEOT 3008 DKR Maxi, 21h41m38s
2. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT) / Matthieu Baumel (FRA), Toyota 4WD, +1h11m29s
3. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) / Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, +1h20m46s
4. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) / Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZAF), Toyota 4WD, +1h20m54s
5. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NLD) / Michel Perin (FRA), Toyota 4WD, +1h25m04s
6. Jakub Przygonski (POL) / Tom Colsoul (BEL), Mini 4WD, +2h19m02s 
7. Martin Prokop (CZE) / Jan Tomanek (CZE), Ford 4WD, +2h22m39s
8. Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi (ARE) / Xavier Panseri (FRA), Peugeot 3008DKR, +2h41m26s
9. Peter Van Merksteijn (NED) / Maciej Marton (POL), Toyota 4WD, +4h23m35s
10. Lucio Alvarez (ARG) / Robert Howie (ZAF), Toyota 4WD, +5h14m16s
TBC. Cyril Despres (FRA) / David Castera (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi, +TBC

Source Peugeot Sport official press release