Stéphane Peterhansel baja poland

Monsieur Dakar back to winning ways at Baja Poland

Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) wasted no time in reminding Europe’s offroaders that he’s still the man to beat on his return to competitive racing at Baja Poland. He took control of the contest before the midway point and the 13-time Dakar Rally winner went on to claim the chequered flag behind the wheel of his MINI John Cooper Works Rally.

Peterhansel quickly answered any questions about how he would cope with eight months away from racing and how he would adapt to having a new co-driver. It was soon evident that Monsieur Dakar still had plenty of speed and the pace notes of Edouard Boulanger (FRA)had the duo on the path to success.

Stéphane Peterhansel baja poland
Edouard Boulanger & Stephane Peterhansel pose for aportrait at the prologue of Rally Baja Poland in Szczecin, Poland on September 4, 2020 // Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool // SI202009040472 // Usage for editorial use only //

“Getting a win in our first rally together is a great start. This has been one of the most difficult rallies I have ever competed in. We are used to desert conditions, and here we struggled with water and mud.” – Stéphane Peterhansel

Following 444 kilometres of timed racing spread over seven special stages, the final winning margin of French pair Peterhansel and Boulanger stood at over 12 minutes. They were able to celebrate on Sunday thanks in large part to staying out of trouble on the previous day when torrential rain had seen a number of their rivals fall away as track conditions worsened.

baja poland
Nasser Al-Attiyah performs at the second day of Rally Baja Poland in Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland on September 5, 2020 // Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool // SI202009050312 // Usage for editorial use only //

Clogged filters and the threat of engine failure forced Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) to retire during the third special stage. Stage three also saw the chances of Kuba Przygoński (POL) winning his home race suffer a blow as he lost a wheel and spent over 40 minutes on repairs.

“I was very surprised that we finished the third stage in first place, especially since I wasn’t pushing hard. I saw the crews stopping. We didn’t have it easy either due to problems with the car.” – Stéphane Peterhansel

With three-time Dakar winner Al-Attiyah out of the race and Przygoński left to target stage wins, Peterhansel used all his experience to bring home the victory. The reigning FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies champion can now turn his attention to next month’s Rally of Andalusia as preparations continue ahead of the 2021 Dakar in Saudi Arabia.

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Results

Baja Poland – Top 5

1. S. Peterhansel (FRA) / E. Boulanger (FRA)   MINI   5h52m20s
2. B. Ten Brinke (HOL) / T. Colsoul (BEL)   Toyota  +12m48s
3. M. Maluszynski (POL) / J. Maluszynska (POL)   MINI   +23m04s
4. A. Domzala (POL) / S. Gospodarczyk (POL)   Can-Am   +24:42
5. J. Przygonski (POL) / T. Gottschalk (GER)   Toyota   +35:52      

Ernesto Araiza

Being born right in the heart of Off-Road Racing, Ernesto always had a dream to be an Off-Road Racer. After finish college he ditched his engineer career to chase the dream of action photographer. It didn't took long to get spotted by MadMedia where he still works. In less than 5 years after 'going pro' he reached some of the most important peaks in his life working for several international brands and events like the Rally Dakar. After 30 years of dreaming, he still have one goal in mind, to keep his face full of dust.