Spanish veteran Carlos Sainz won the Dakar Rally in Argentina on Saturday as Peugeot bowed out with their third win in a row.
The victory, ahead of Qatar's two times winner Nasser al-Attiyah in a Toyota, handed Sainz his second title in the gruelling endurance race that switched to South America from Africa in 2009 for security reasons.
The double world rally champion previously won in 2010 with Volkswagen.
Peugeot's works team, who won the previous two Dakars with Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel, had already announced their departure after this year's edition.
Sainz had led the cars into the final stage with a 46 minute advantage over al-Attiyah and he took no risks after a marathon two weeks from Peru through Bolivia that have seen a spate of retirements and accidents.
Nasser Al-Attiyah congratulates Carlos Sainz of Spain
He was immediately applauded by his son and namesake, the Renault Formula One driver.
"Today I am probably the proudest son of his father in the whole world. Winner of the toughest @Dakar ever done in South America at 55 years of age (good number) and he did it in his own way," said the driver, who races with the number 55.
Sainz finished ninth on the last stage, beating al-Attiyah by 43 minutes.
The third place on the podium went to South African Giniel de Villiers in a Toyota, ahead of Peterhansel.
"We managed to do it," said Sainz. "They (Peugeot) have already won two times, but I think I deserved this victory because we have put lot of effort into this car.
"I had ups and downs, but I always tried my best. Especially this rally, it has been so, so hard," added the Spaniard, who left open the question of whether he would be back next year without Peugeot.
A two times winner of the Dakar, al-Attiyah has added a third second-place finish in his career to his CV.
“It was a crazy Dakar but we love the Dakar and would like to thank the organisers for everything, for making this a really hard Dakar,” said the Qatari.
“Every day the result was changing. We’ve reached the final day in second place – I think it’s not bad with all the problems we got in the first week. I’d like to thank the Toyota team, South Africa and Gazoo Racing,” he added.
Al-Attiyah added that he had no complaints.
“It was really hard work and I’m quite happy to finish second. I was thinking that we wouldn't be on the podium after losing one hour and fifteen minutes, but okay, we are quite happy to be here and second place is not bad, I believe.
“I remember in 2010 I was second behind Sainz, now in 2018 we finish behind him also, but I will do my best for next year to win the Dakar. Next year, we absolutely can win”.
Austrian Matthias Walkner, last year's runner-up to British team mate Sam Sunderland, won the motorcycle category for his first Dakar triumph and KTM's 17th in a row.
Russian Eduard Nikolaev won the truck category in a Kamaz for the second year in a row and third time in total. Chilean Ignacio Casale won the quadbike title for the second time.
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