The Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart team of Luc Alphand and GIlles Picard have won the 2006 Dakar Rally - Mitusbishi's 6th straight victory and its 11th victory in the event.
The Volkswagen team of Giniel de Villiers and Tina Thorner was second, less than 18 minutes back, and the Mitsubishi team of Nani Roma and Henri Magne completed the podium. More after the jump, with photo highlights of the rally. American Mark Miller and co-driver Dirk von Zitewitz finished a surprising fifth. Arizona-based Miller was competing in only his second event for Volkswagen, and his third Dakar. His finish is all the more remarkable considering that Miller rolled his Race Touareg - twice - in Stage 7.
Overall, it appeared that Volkswagen had the measure of Mitsubishi, but the dunes and soft sands of Mauritania proved to be their undoing. Former downhill ski champion Alphand assumed the lead from teammate Stephane Peterhansel, after Peterhansel was forced to make lengthy on-course repairs to his Mitsubishi.
This year's 28th running of the rally was marred by the deaths of motorcyclist Andy Caldecott and two young spectators, in separate incidents.
Truck class winner Vladimir Chagin, KAMAZ.
The dunes claimed many victims.
Motorcycle class winner Marc Coma, KTM.
"Rest" stop after a stage.
The Mitsubishi's were very strong in the dunes.
The second place VW Touareg of Giniel de Villiers.
Robby Gordon's Hummer eventually retired due to crash damage.
Sources: [Mitsubishi Motorsport, Volkswagen Motorsport, dakar.com]