The 2021 Dakar Rally is won and done, with France's Stéphane Peterhansel taking out the podium driving an X-Raid Mini.
In its 43rd running, navigation proved to be more challenging for the 556 competitors, who covered an intense 8000 kilometres over 12 days and 12 gruelling stages.
For the first time in the event's history, participants were given out handbooks 15 minutes prior to each stage, making the route even more difficult through the Arabian desert.
One entrant who wasn't shy expressing his frustration with the navigation of this year's event was reigning champion and rally legend, Carlos Sainz Sr. He finished third overall in the car category behind Nasser Al-Attiyah, while it was seasoned veteran, Stéphane Peterhansel who took his fourteenth Dakar win – 30 years after his first successful Dakar finish.
There were two riders flying the Australian flag in the motorbike class in Toby Price and Daniel Sanders. Two-time Dakar champion Price got off to a strong start, however, was airlifted to hospital after crashing out in stage nine. He suffered a broken collar bone, announcing to social media that he had "finally broken his 30th bone".
Meanwhile, rookie KTM factory rider Sanders made a stellar Dakar debut finishing fourth overall.
It was Kevin Benavides who took the win and created history, becoming the first South American rider to win the event on two wheels.
The Lightweight Vehicle category was won by Chilean Francisco López in his 10th Dakar, while Dmitry Sotnikov took out the win in the truck division. This win is also the fifth consecutive victory for Team Kamaz-Master.
Finally the classics, a category that boasts the greatest variety, was won by Marc Douton in his 1979 Sunhill buggy. A Mitsubishi Montero V6 finished second with Frenchman Juan Donatiu behind the wheel, and Lilian Harichoury completed the podium in a Renault 420DCI truck.
The event was marred by the death of French rider Pierre Cherpin, who passed away from injuries sustained in a high-speed crash. The 52-year-old entrepreneur was competing in his fourth Dakar.
This was the second year that the rally was held in Saudi Arabia. The location and date of Dakar 2022 are yet to be confirmed.
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