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• After the dramas of yesterday, today’s stage was much more straightforward for Team Peugeot Total, with the two remaining cars making it safely through to the finish despite dropping time in the final part of the stage with a slight navigational error.
• Cyril Despres / David Castera on Peugeot DKR #100 extend their overall lead today, despite driving with a bit in reserve in order not to take too many risks. They classified 4th on the stage but still gained few minutes in the overall timetable.
• Stephane Peterhansel / Jean Paul Cottret aboard Peugeot DKR #106 parked immediately after the start in order to wait the 8 minutes for their team mate to arrive. They then drive close to them during the stage, to be in a position to offer any assistance if needed. They have now climbed back to sixth overall.

After yesterday’s drama, the priority for the two remaining Peugeot DKRs was to get through today’s leg from Hami to Dunhuang safely. And they both managed to do exactly that. While the 360.2-kilometre stage was anything but easy, some slick team work meant that Cyril Despres could attack safe in the knowledge that his team mate was close by to help should anything go wrong. As a result, Despres has now increased his lead to 47 minutes as the rally goes into the final four days.

Cyril DESPRES, Team Peugeot Total Driver
4th of stage 10 / 1st overall
“It’s always interesting to start a race in a different context, the context of being leader. Yesterday was all about trying not to make a mistake to keep our place in the top two, today we started in front. The pace was not exceptional, just trying to warm up the engine and the car gradually, but it was a more enjoyable drive than yesterday. We overtook a few local drivers and then 40 kilometres from the finish line we made a small navigational mistake and went back on ourselves, missing five kilometres of road book. Luckily we managed to remember a blue house, which was a good reference point: there are not many of those in China! We miss the podium due to this error but now our goal is to keep heading safe to Xi’an, and above all not damage the car.”

Stéphane PETERHANSEL, Team Peugeot Total Driver 8th of stage 10 / 6th overall (cars)
“I didn’t see too much of the stage as I was in the dust for a lot of the time, especially at the beginning. I started first on the road and then waited for Cyril who was fifth. I slotted in behind Cyril and then he began to catch up the cars that I had let go past. He overtook them one by one and then we were first and second on the stage, which was better as we were able to run in clearer air with less dust. We both got a bit lost at the end but nothing too serious. In general, the stage conditions were much better than yesterday.”

Tomorrow was originally scheduled to be the longest stage of the rally as the crews travel from Dunhuang to Jiayuguan. However, the first part of the stage (comprising 251 kilometres) has been cancelled, leaving ‘only’ the second 237-kilometre section. This features wide and sandy tracks as well as some picturesque scenery between canyons.

Dunhuang is famous for the Dunhuang Mogao Caves, which were originally dug out of the cliff face as a place of Buddhist contemplation for hermit monks. These contain some of the finest Buddhist artworks, manuscripts and murals in the world, spanning a period of about 1000 years. It’s also where an astrological map was found for the first time. In 1987, the caves became a UNESCO World Heritage Site; from 1988 to 1995 a further 248 caves were discovered, in addition to the 487 already known about.

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