While Stephane Peterhansel drove his way to a stage win and an overall lead of over an hour in the Dakar Rally on Wednesday, he admitted to losing his composure a number of times throughout the day.
The Frenchman is desperately pursuing a 12th Dakar Rally title and it is rare for a professional sportsman to be under more pressure than that which they put on themselves to win.
Additionally, there is now also a cloud of doubt hanging over the 50-year-old’s 2016 campaign as Monday’s refuelling debacle has led to the X-raid team announcing that they will file an appeal to the French motorsport federation and take the case to the courts, after the stewards cleared the Peugeot driver of any wrongdoing.
So when Peterhansel felt like things were not going his way in the searing heat during Stage 10, it is an effortless task to understand why he lost his temper.
“We had a terrible start to the special,” Peterhansel told Motorsport.com.
“We got lost at kilometer 32 and wandered around for at least 15 minutes. I blew a fuse because I thought I’d lost everything.
“We took risks and threw caution to the wind. We pushed very hard because we knew today was the decisive stage.
“I had a flat tyre and started screaming my head off, I was a bit out of my mind today,” Peterhansel confessed.
“However, when we got going, we were fast, we made a huge leap in the general standings.
Despite being in a poor mood, the Frenchman still displayed great commitment to his team-mate Carlos Sainz who was forced to quit the rally after a gearbox failure.
“I regret what happened to Carlos, I’m sad for him,” Peterhansel continued.
“I stopped to ask if I could help and he told me to continue.
It is understood that the Frenchman could yet lose his lead in the aforementioned appeal hearing.
Peterhansel survived the initial allegation that he refueled in an unauthorized area on Monday, but X-Raid filed an appeal on Wednesday to the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) which will be heard before the end of the race.
If found guilty, the 11-time champion could be penalised six hours or even disqualified.