Harry Hunt returns to the Dakar Rally today, driving a PH Sport-prepared Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi, two years after breaking his neck in a crash in the Moroccan desert.

The British driver enjoyed a superb debut in 2016, finishing 10th in the cars with two-time winning co-driver Andreas Schulz, and was due to compete again a year later with his brother Max. However, after an accident in October 2016, Harry was forced to undergo lengthy rehabilitation, and was only able to get back behind the wheel again in 2018.

The former WRC and IRC driver, who first moved into off road in 2015, will now get a chance to make up for lost time as part of the ambitious French team PH Sport, who have also signed up nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb for Dakar 2019.

This time around, Harry has teamed up with experienced co-driver Wouter Rosegaar, who knows the Dakar like the back of his hand; the Dutchman has taken part in every edition since 2006 in either a car or truck, and only failed to finish for the first time last year.

"I did the Dakar in 2016 with X-Raid, then moved to PH Sport for Morocco the same year, where I had a big crash and broke my neck,” said Hunt. “I couldn't take part in the next two Dakars, but I always wanted to do it again. It's been a long road to get back here.

“The Dakar is the pinnacle of the sport, so it's nice to be taking part again but also quite daunting. We'll be racing in the 3008 DKR Maxi, the car Peugeot won in last year, alongside Sebastien.

The only issue we had this year is that we couldn't use the Maxi at World Cup rounds like Abu Dhabi, Kazakhstan or Morocco, because it hasn't been approved by the FIA. It's not an excuse, but it wasn't ideal.

“I got in with Wouter in Turkmenistan, so we did Turkmenistan and Morocco together. It was amazing, he's great and has so much experience. It's perfect for me because I don't have that much. My brother Max will be doing the Dakar as well, in the Original class, so that'll be interesting. I don't envy him one bit.

“There was a plan for us to do it together in 2017, then I broke my neck and he had to do it by himself. But we finally got there!”

This year’s Dakar Rally takes place exclusively in Peru, with the start (7 January) and finish (17 January) in the capital city of Lima. It’s a 5,000km route, of which 3,000kms are special stages – with 70% of the competition taking place on sand.

Harry Hunt wears a STILO WRC DES ZERO 8860 helmet.