The PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi is taking centre stage in Lima as the 2018 Dakar Rally departs for a 9,000km quest across South America. Team Peugeot Total have announced that this will be their final Dakar for the foreseeable future and the only question that remains to be answered is can they bow out with yet another car class win? Fellow serial winners Team Kamaz Master show no signs of leaving the rally-raid arena however, the Russian truckers also have a fleet of four vehicles entered into this Dakar.

12 months ago Peugeot celebrated a clean sweep of the podium places at the 2017 Dakar as Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) handed them back-to-back victories. Can the French marque now claim a third consecutive win as they prepare to exit the event they have come to dominate? To help them with the task in hand they once again come to South America with their D-ream Team of driving talent.

“In my opinion, this could be one of the best Dakars that has ever taken place in South America.”– Stéphane Peterhansel

The crews of Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA)Carlos Sainz (ESP)/Lucas Cruz (ESP)Sébastien Loeb (FRA)/Daniel Elena (MON) and Cyril Despres (FRA)/David Castera (FRA) have unprecedented Dakar success between them. This quartet can claim 19 Dakar victories combined (including bikes and cars), plus 11 World Rally Championship titles. Meanwhile, Peugeot has six wins from seven Dakar participations (1987 to 1990; 2015 to 2017).

The PEUGEOT 3008DKR Maxi remains two-wheel drive but has gained over two metres in width on the car that won last year in a move to bring greater stability to the machine.

“This is now the ultimate evolution of what was already a very good car.” – Carlos Sainz

Joining Peugeot as frontrunners on the road from Lima to Pisco today are Team Kamaz Master. The Russians have won 14 of the last 21 Dakar truck races and have four crews entered into the rally all capable of added another victory to their tally.

Reigning champion Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) now has two wins as a driver to go along with his triumph as a mechanic partnering Vladimir Chagin (RUS). Chagin, Kamaz Team Captain since retiring as a driver, celebrated his birthday on the eve of the 2018 Dakar and his crew have promised him a special present at the finish line in Cordoba, Argentina on January 20.

Nikolaev is joined in his fight for truck category supremacy by fellow drivers Ayrat Mardeev (RUS), Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) and Anton Shibalov (RUS). All four racers will be at the wheel of their own Kamaz 4326.

“We’ll be attacking from the very start because we know we can take advantage of our expertise on the dunes” – Ayrat Mardeev

There’s less expectation on Bolivian bikers Walter Jr. and Daniel Nosiglia than Kamaz to secure a winning result but the sense of national pride behind them is equal to anyone in the race. Walter Jr. and Daniel are hoping to use their experience of racing the Baja Inka in Peru last year to help them get to grips with the tricky start on the dunes. If the Nosiglia brothers can make it through the desert then a hero’s reception will be waiting for both of them as they enter their native Bolivia.

“The dunes of Peru are going to be tough but we were here last year for the Baja Inka race so that experience is going to stand us in good stead for the challenges to come.” – Walter Nosiglia Jr.

The 40th edition of the Dakar Rally takes place from January 6 until January 20. Watch daily updates of all the action from South America at www.RedBull.com/Dakar.

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