Continuing their strong run since Monday’s start, Team Peugeot Total’s Spanish crew bounced back from a time consuming navigational error on Tuesday to set the pace on today’s competitive section and post the fastest time by a margin of more than six minutes. In the process, Carlos SAINZ and Lucas CRUZ climbed two places in the provisional order to figure in second spot overall with two days remaining.
The first fastest stage time of the PEUGEOT 3008 DKR’s nascent career is a handsome reward for all the hard work that has been accomplished in the shadows by Peugeot Sport’s technical staff all-year long. It is also indicative of the value of Team Peugeot Total’s development programme as it builds up to the 2017 Dakar.
Cyril DESPRES / David CASTERA (PEUGEOT 2008 DKR) secured fourth place which was especially satisfying given that they again had to run in dust thrown up by slower vehicles running ahead of them early on the stage. The result has improved their overall position, which means the French pair will benefit from a more favourable start order when action resumes on Thursday.
TERRAIN: some small dunes and sand to begin with, then rougher, harderpacked ground with lots of stones. Generally smooth, with a little complex navigation in places.
PROGRAMME: Road section 1: 58km Stage: 315km Road section 2: 17km Total distance: 390km
WEATHER: sunny – Average temperature: 32.3°C – Peak temperature: 35.9°C
Carlos SAINZ (PEUGEOT 3008 DKR) Leg: 1st / Overall: 2nd
“After our navigational error while leading the rally yesterday, it was important not to take any risks today. Our approach paid off and, despite having to deal with dust as we overtook four cars, I am very happy with today’s result. We face fierce competition here and it’s nice to being having this sort of battle ahead of January’s Dakar. The PEUGEOT 3008 DKR is a well-sorted car. It is competitive and efficient. We have made progress in every domain. The team is working well and heading in the right direction. We will try to finish this week’s rally as best we can and I intend to give it my very best shot.”
Cyril DESPRES Leg: 4th / Overall: 22nd
“We are here in Morocco to get as many kilometres as possible under our belts, to feel more even comfortable in the car and to fine-tune the way David and I mesh together. We perhaps don’t have quite the same confidence as the other guys in the team and we need to do as much driving as we can in order to gain more and more expérience. Even though the week hasn’t exactly gone to plan so far for us, it’s all been positive. We clocked up a good time today and could have gone even faster if we hadn’t been slowed by dust. We had to wait 200 kilometres before we could start overtaking, so that was very frustrating.”
Bruno FAMIN (Director, Peugeot Sport / Team Manager, Peugeot Total)
“We made it to the finish of today’s test and completed the marathon in Erfoud with both cars and crews safe and sound. That’s good news for the whole team! We’re more than halfway into the rally and the way the competition has gone so far is what we pretty much expected from both the technical and sporting angles. The PEUGEOT 3008 DKR is running well and hasn’t suffered any mechanical setbacks despite the strength of the opposition. We are on a good learning curve with the car as the Dakar looms ever closer, and we’ve still got another two days to come. We will do our best to make it to the finish without putting ourselves under too much pressure.”
Leg 3 classification
1. SAINZ Carlos (ESP) /CRUZ Lucas (ESP), PEUGEOT 3008 DKR 02h41min09
2. AL ATTIYAH Nasser (QAT) / BAUMEL Matthieu (FRA), Toyota Hi-Lux Overdrive +06min01sec
3. HIRVONEN Mikko (FIN) / PERIN Michel (FRA), Mini All4 Racing +07min36sec
4. DESPRES Cyril (FR) / David CASTERA, PEUGEOT 2008 DKR +8min24sec
5. ROMA Joan (ESP) / HARO Alex (ESP), Toyota Hi-Lux Overdrive +12min10sec
Overall positions after Leg 3
1. AL ATTIYAH Nasser (QAT) / BAUMEL Matthieu (FRA), Toyota Hi-Lux Overdrive 6h52min49sec
2. SAINZ Carlos (ESP) /CRUZ Lucas (ESP), PEUGEOT 3008 DKR +11min07sec
3. AL RAJHI Yazeed (UAE) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (ALL), Mini All 4 Racing +21min06sec
4. ROMA Joan (ESP) / HARO Alex (ESP), Toyota Hi-Lux Overdrive +21min57sec
5. HIRVONEN Mikko (FIN) / PERIN Michel (FRA), Mini All4 +23min23sec
35. DESPRES Cyril (FR) / David CASTERA, PEUGEOT 2008 DKR +98h56min10sec