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In addition to seeing competitors reach the highest point of 2017 Dakar Rally event at an altitude of almost 5,000 metres, today’s particularly selective test produced the first one-two-three finish for the PEUGEOT 3008 DKR as Loeb/Elena, Sainz/Cruz and Peterhansel/Cottret eased into the top three provisional places overall.

– Not only did Leg 3 of the 2017 Dakar Rally sees crews climb in altitude, but the two-part 364-kilometre competitive section also turned out to be a challenging test on several fronts. The codrivers faced the first navigational difficulties of the event, while the engines had to cope with the effects of the rarefied air.
– After his cautious start to the week, Stéphane Peterhansel was immediately on the pace and emerged as Team Peugeot Total’s pace-setter. The Frenchman went on to post the day’s fastest time and leap from seventh to third place in the overall standings.
– Overnight leader Sébastien Loeb faced a more delicate task given that he was first on the road today. His run was also spoiled by a puncture shortly after the start of the second competitive section. Even so, he succeeded in defending top spot, although team-mate Carlos Sainz is only 42 seconds short in second place.
– The four PEUGEOT 3008DKRs passed the highest point of this year’s rally – 4,960 metres – on one of the today’s road sections. The rarefied air found at such high altitudes naturally has a direct effect on engine performance, and the drivers can suffer physically, too. Cyril Despres explains how he prepared for the ordeal in the attached podcast.

TYPE OF TERRAIN: high altitudes, the fortnight’s first off-road driving, river crossings.

CONDITIONS: difficult navigation, side-effects of competing at altitude.

WEATHER: big temperature differences (3°C to 32°C), a little rain and even hailstones on higher ground.

AVERAGE SPEED: 80kph

TOP SPEED: 182kph

CLASSIFICATION LEG 3

1. PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET Jean-Paul (FRA),
PEUGEOT 3008DKR, 4h18m17s
2. SAINZ Carlos (ESP) /CRUZ Lucas (ESP),
PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +1m54s
3. LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MON),
PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +3m8s
4. HIRVONEN Mikko (FIN) / PERIN Michel (FRA),
Mini, +3m57s
5. DESPRES Cyril (FR) / David CASTERA (FRA),
PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +7m48s

PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER LEG 3

1. LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MON), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, 6h54m56s
2. SAINZ Carlos (ESP) /CRUZ Lucas (ESP), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +42s
3. PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET Jean-Paul (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +4m18s
4. HIRVONEN Mikko (FIN) / PERIN Michel (FRA), Mini, +9m38s
5. ROMA Nani (ESP) / HARO Bravo (ESP), Toyota Hi-Lux, +13m4s
7. DESPRES Cyril (FR) / David CASTERA (FRA), PEUGEOT 3008DKR, +15m25s

“QUOTE, UNQUOTE…”

Bruno Famin
“It was obviously a good day for the team! In addition to posting today’s top three times, we are now sitting first, second and third in the provisional standings. It’s a nice position to find ourselves in but it was only the first of the ‘real’ Dakar stages. There are another nine like that to come! Even though some of our opponents hit trouble today, we need to keep a clear head, especially as the gaps separating tonight’s top 12 are pretty small. Today’s run was just a foretaste of the difficulties that await us.”

Stéphane Peterhansel (PEUGEOT 3008DKR #300)
Leg 3: 1st / Overall: 3rd
“Today was a good overall result for Team Peugeot Total, and Jean-Paul and I won the stage. We saw two Toyota parked up with problems, so that has opened up the situation somewhat. We didn’t have any problems and our navigation was spot on.”

Carlos Sainz (PEUGEOT 3008DKR #304)
Leg 3: 2nd / Overall: 2nd
“That was a hard stage. We found ourselves on a wrong heading early on, so I decided to push hard on the second section in order to keep the gap as small as possible. It was important not to hit any trouble and there’s really not a great deal in it this evening. We’ve still got some hard work ahead of us, plus a few details to sort out.”

Sébastien Loeb (PEUGEOT 3008DKR #309)
Leg 3: 3rd / Overall: 1st
“It wasn’t easy but we survived the stage unscathed, with the exception of a puncture after I clouted a concealed rock on the second section. We had succeeded in catching Nasser Al Attiyah at that point but that was the last we saw of him today.”

Cyril Despres (PEUGEOT 3008DKR #307)
Leg 3: 5th / Overall: 7th
“Today didn’t start well for us. We hit a rock quite hard coming out of a river-crossing in dust. That calmed us down a bit. David did a good job on the navigation and our pace was decent until the steering started to get very stiff towards the end of the first section due to a hole in the hydraulic oil cooler. We were forced to carry out makeshift repairs and we checked in two minutes late for the start of the second section.”

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