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Dakar 2010: Peterhansel and Cottret joins X-Raid BMW Team.

French Dakar legend Stéphane Peterhansel has signed for the Trebur-based X-raid team and will rekindle his winning partnership with regular codriver Jean-Paul Cottret in a BMW X3 CC. Forty-three-year-old Peterhansel is the most successful driver/rider in the history of the gruelling Dakar Rally and has taken victory on six occasions on a Yamaha motorcycle and three times in a car with the Mitsubishi factory team.

When the Japanese manufacturer announced its withdrawal from motor sport after this the last Dakar Rally in South America, X-raid team director Sven Quandt took the opportunity to recruit Peterhansel/Cottret. The French duo will be joining the X-raid team for the revised 2010 Dakar Rally in South America.

"I have always had the greatest admiration for Stéphane and Jean-Paul as a driver/co-driver partnership and that has been proved in the successes they achieved in the last years," said Quandt. "We now have a very competitive package with our latest BMW X3 CC and we led the Dakar for several days this year. Having Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret and Nani Roma/Michel Périn on board is a major boost to our goal to win the event for the first time next January."

Peterhansel is aware that the BMW X3 CC is a strong, powerful and competitive car and is relishing the challenge of winning the Dakar with a new team. "The BMW provided very difficult competition for me last time we competed in the Dakar and I know that Sven’s team has been working hard to make it even more competitive". Peterhansel began his career on a motorbike and clinched victories in the 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1998 Dakar rallies on two wheels, before switching to four-wheel competition. He finished second overall in the 2000 Dakar-Cairo Rally with a Mega Special, before winning the T1 category with Nissan in 2001.

After Stéphane took the victory in the 2002 UAE Desert Challenge, he lost the 2003 Dakar Rally on the penultimate stage in Egypt, but went on to win the event in 2004, 2005 and 2007 to cap nine stunning wins in the world’s most difficult off-road rally. The Frenchman - nicknamed "Peter" - has also achieved numerous wins in rounds of the FIA World Cup, is a twotime World Enduro champion and took part in the Race of Champions in 2005 and 2006.

Cottret started his career as a qualified race mechanic and quickly developed an enviable reputation as a first class codriver, the Frenchman able to fuse his ability to read the remote desert terrain with working under pressure to repair technical problems on the car in all weather and temperatures.

Cottret switched to co-driving in 1992 and finished second with Peterhansel on the Dakar event in 2000. He was born in June 1963 and has already won the Dakar Rally with Peterhansel on three occasions (2004, 2005 and 2007) and numerous smaller Bajas and FIA World Cup rallies. Cottret - nicknamed "Pollo"- is determined to increase his winning tally next January.

2009/07/06 | 19:51 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Thomas Quandt

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