Carlos Sainz has clinched his second Dakar Rally victory after negotiating the final stage of the gruelling 2018 event to clinch the win by over 43 minutes from Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Sainz has followed up his 2010 triumph with Volkswagen with triumph in 2018 for Peugeot having won two of the 13 completed stages and vitally avoiding any serious stops as his rivals faltered.

Sainz leapt into the overall lead after the second of his Dakar stage wins at the midway point of stage 7 after Peugeot team-mate Stephane Peterhansel hit trouble and lost over an hour on the Spaniard. Almost every high-profile contender hit trouble with Peugeot’s Sebastien Loeb and Cyril Despres plus Mini’s Mikko Hirvonen and Nani Roma all taken out of the running entirely after accidents.

The two-time World Rally champion maintained his advantage over the second half of the gruelling rally, despite a 10-minute time penalty for a clash with a quad rider which was later rescinded, and when Peterhansel suffer steering issues after a crash on the penultimate stage Sainz's victory was effectively secured with the easier final stage covering a total of 286km.

Sainz’s general classification victory was timed at 43m40s with Toyota’s Al-Attiyah in second place, having been an early leader at the Dakar, with third place on the final stage comfortably giving him the overall runner-up spot.

Toyota team-mate Giniel de Villiers enjoyed the final success of the 2018 event with victory on stage 14 by 40 seconds from Peterhansel to keep hold of the final rostrum spot by just under 10 minutes from the French driver. Jakub Przygonski rounded out the top five for Orlen Team X-Raid over one hour and 20 minutes behind Peterhansel.

In the bike category Matthias Walkner also saw home his comfortable advantage to win the 2018 Dakar rally in the two-wheel class for Red Bull KTM by 16m53s from Monster Energy Honda’s Kevin Benavides.

Benavides tasted victory on the final stage but couldn’t do enough to beat Walkner’s overall lead which started at 20 minutes before the day’s action, with Toby Price completing the rostrum trio thanks to his second place on stage 14 to finish around six minutes behind the Argentine runner-up.

Antoine Meo ensured Red Bull KTM locked out three of the top four finishing spots, despite the loss of 2017 winner Sam Sunderland in the early stages due to injury in a nasty crash, while long-time leader Yamaha’s Adrien van Beveren also crashed out of contention plus Honda’s Joan Barreda Bort injury withdrawal with three stages to go.