‘Mr Dakar’ wins third stage as Loeb suffers

The Phnom Penh Post - - SPORT -

T HI RT E E N- T I ME wi n n e r Stephane Peter­hansel swept to vic­tory on the third stage of the Dakar Rally as Se­bastien Loeb’s dream of ad­ding vic­tory in the gru­elling en­durance race to his nine world rally ti­tles suf­fered a fog-hit set­back.

Peter­hansel, be­hind the wheel of a Mini, ended the 798km run to Are­quipa with a 3min 26sec lead over two-time cham­pion Nasser al-At­tiyah in a Toy­ota and 11min 47sec in front of Mini team­mate Jakub Przy­gon­ski.

Over­all, Qatari driver al-At­tiyah seized the over­all lead from Toy­ota’s Giniel de Vil­liers, and has a 6min 48sec edge over Saudi Ara­bia’s Yazeed Al-Ra­jhi in a Mini.

“It was a great stage for us. We only had a small punc­ture, which only cost us two min­utes,” said al-At­tiyah.

“It’s a good day, we have rea­son to be happy. From what I’ve heard, there’s go­ing to be lots of fesh-fesh to­mor­row, we’ll have to keep our guard up in the marathon stage. Af­ter that, we’ll keep at­tack­ing.”

Peter­hansel is third over­all, 7min 03sec off the lead, af­ter claim­ing his 75th ca­reer stage win on the race.

“It was a nice stage, wit h tough dunes and trick y nav igat ion – ha rd-to-f i nd way­points in t he va lleys. It was a qu i nt e s s ent i a l l y Per uv i a n stage and the sign of things to come in t he next few days,” said Peter­hansel.

Loeb, driv­ing a pri­vate Peu­geot and who won Tuesday’s sec­ond stage, was 42 min­utes be­hind Peter­hansel af­ter a dif­fi­cult day in which he lost his way in the fog and is eighth over­all.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Car­los Sainz, like Loeb a for­mer world rally cham­pion, suf­fered a night­mare third stage when the front sus­pen­sion on his Mini broke in the early stages of Wednesday’s run.

The Spa­niard was held up for over t h re e hou r s a s a re­sult, send­ing him down the stand­ings.

In the mo­tor­cy­cling sec­tion, French Yamaha rider Xav ier de Sou lt ra it won t he t h i rd s t a g e w h i l e e x p e r i e nc e d Spa nish r ider Joa n Ba r reda was forced to quit the race on his Honda.

“I’m very dis­ap­pointed. I got off to a great start, feel­ing strong, at­tack­ing and catch­ing up with the rid­ers in front of me,” said Barreda who had led overnight.

“I got to a sum­mit where it was re­ally foggy. There was no vis­i­bil­ity and I went down the wrong de­scent. It was ex­tremely slip­pery, it was im­pos­si­ble for me to get back up.”

De Soul­trait fin­ished 15 sec­onds ahead of Chile’s Pablo Quin­tanilla on a Husq­varna.

Quin­tanilla now leads the over­all stand­ings with an 11min 23sec ad­van­tage over Ar­gentina’s Kevin Be­na­vides on a Honda who was third on Wednesday.

Thursday’s fourth stage will cover 511km (351km timed) from Are­quipa to Tacna in the south of Peru.

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