Mini driver Stephane Peterhansel of France, right, Dakar Rally Director Etienne Lavigne, center, and co-driver Jean Paul Cottret, of France, wave from the podium ramp during the symbolic start of the Peru-Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally 2013 in Lima, Peru.

Martin Mejia, Associated Press

Peterhansel wins stage 2, leads Dakar Rally

  • Associated Press
  • January 7, 2013 - 12:25 AM

PISCO, Peru - Defending champion Stephane Peterhansel took the overall lead in the Dakar Rally on Sunday by winning a treacherous second stage around Pisco that was costly for some title favorites.

Peterhansel, the rally's most successful driver with 10 victories, took more than two and a half hours to complete the 149-mile loop around the Peruvian city that was entirely on sand, resulting in a record 60th career stage win for the man they call "Mr. Dakar."

In jumping from sixth to first in the overall standings, the Frenchman in the Mini gave all the credit to co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret, who has been beside him for all of his record-tying four wins in a car, following six on motorcycles.

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