PEUGEOT has notched up a third consecutive win in the gruelling Dakar rally with Carlos Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz claiming victory in a 3008DKR Maxi.
The podium spot in the 40th Dakar sees Peugeot now bowing out of the event which it has dominated with seven victories since the French car maker first took part in 1987.
The company will now concentrate its motor sport efforts on the FIA World Rallycross Championship which starts in April in Barcelona with rally ace Sebastien Loeb driving one of the Peugeot 208 WRX entries.
In this year's Dakar, Sainz's Peugeot - based on the award-winning 3008 SUV, the current European Car of the Year - covered 5,495 miles over some of the harshest territory imaginable in Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.
During the event the 3008DKR won seven out of 13 stages and the only issues encountered were minor gear selection problems.
After 14 days of competition Sainz took victory coming in some 43min 40secs ahead of his nearest rival Nasser Al Attiyah of Qatar in a Toyota 4x4.
Bruno Famin, the director of Peugeot Sport, said: "Peugeot ends its Dakar campaign in the best possible way thanks to a fantastic victory from Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz and the Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi, on a Dakar Rally that will go down in history.
"To take three consecutive victories on such a complicated event is an exceptional achievement that is as much down to our very high technical level as it is to our unfailing team spirit."
And 55-year-old Spanish rally veteran Sainz described this year's Dakar as the toughest ever.
"It was a very difficult rally for me. It's probably been the most difficult Dakar that I've ever taken part in, even counting the ones in Africa," he said, adding: "The Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi is probably the best car I have ever driven on rally raids."
After the World Rallycross Championship campaign Peugeot has announced it will be preparing for the forthcoming electric Rallycross championship in 2020 which it will be tackling with a fully electric version of the current road-going Peugeot 208.