Peterhansel just edged out fellow Mini racer Krzysztof Holowczyc by coming home first in two hours 48 minutes and 12 seconds.
American Robby Gordon’s Hummer sits just above Poland’s Holowczyc in second place in the general standings, two minutes 28 seconds behind Peterhansel. Opening stage winner Leonid Novitskiy, of Russia, dropped to eighth overall.
In the bike category, reigning champion Marc Coma seized the general lead yesterday by claiming the 17th Dakar stage win of his career. He now leads opening stage winner Francisco Lopez, of Chile, by two and a half minutes. Cyril Despres is a further 22 seconds behind KTM rider Coma, of Spain.
The category was overshadowed by the death on Sunday’s opening day of competition of Argentinian rider Jorge Martinez Boero.
Boero, 38, crashed near the end of the special section among dunes on the Atlantic coast on his Beta RR450.
The son of a former national motor racing champion, taking part in his second Dakar rally, he suffered serious injuries to his thorax and cardiac arrest.