Here Are This Year's Winners Of The Toughest Race Around, The Dakar Rally

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One of the most extreme and dangerous racing events around, the Dakar Rally, concluded its 2017 edition on Saturday after bad weather cut out major portions of the race’s 12-stage route. And while actually finishing the rally is a feat of its own, some people actually manage to win it.

In this year’s rally, those people were Sam Sunderland in the bikes category, Sergey Karyakin in the quads, Stephane Peterhansel in the cars, Leandro Torres in the UTVs and Eduard Nikolaev in the trucks. Those competitors led the way ahead of plenty of carnage, which is expected of the Dakar Rally—that’s part of what makes it one of the most extreme events around.

In two weeks, lightning struck a competitor, a past Dakar Rally champion broke his leg, spectators had to duck to avoid a huge crash and two top riders went to the hospital. That’s only half of the carnage that likely would have been, as organizers had to cut a whopping 42 percent of the ninth stage of the rally, along with a couple of other stages, due to inclement weather and a huge landslide along the route.


But let’s get back to this year’s winners. Motorsport reports that the newest bikes titleholder, Sunderland, became the first British competitor to take an overall class win in the rally. It was Sunderland’s fourth running of the Dakar Rally, and Motorsport reports that he originally took a 12-minute lead at the fifth stage of the event. Matthias Walkner and Gerard Farres rounded out the podium in the overall standings, both finishing more than 30 minutes behind Sunderland.


Cars winner Peterhansel wasn’t as new to the podium as Sunderland. Motorsport reports that this Dakar victory was his 13th, and he won by just five minutes over FIA World Rally Championship legend and runner-up finisher Sébastien Loeb. Peugeot was the only manufacturer on the car podium, with Cyril Despres taking third by more than 33 minutes behind Peterhansel.

Nikolaev took his second Dakar Rally title with the trucks win, according to Motorsport, with the first coming in 2013. Nikolaev traded off the lead over several stages during the rally, but ultimately finished 18 minutes ahead of teammate and runner-up driver Dmitry Sotnikov and 41 minutes ahead of Gerard de Rooy, who finished third.


Karyakin topped the quads podium ahead of Ignacio Casale and Pablo Copetti, who finished second and third respectively. Casale came in an hour and 14 minutes behind Karyakin, while Copetti finished four hours and 20 minutes behind. In the UTVs, Torres won by nearly five hours over runner-up finisher Wang Fujiang and more than six hours ahead of third-place Maganov Ravil.

The full rally results are here, if you’re curious.

Correction: The original text stated that weather cut out 42 percent of the rally, but it was really 42 percent of the ninth stage. Several other major portions of the rally were cut as well. The author was a little too caught up in spelling all of the names correctly when she made that mistake.