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Peterhansel wins Dakar seventh stage, Al Attiyah well on course for title

Stephane Peterhansel

San Juan de Marcona (Peru), January 15: Stephane Peterhansel recovered from an early accident that left his head spinning, to win the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally ahead of Nani Roma with Carlos Sainz in third after 387km of rolling, desert terrain.

However, Toyota's Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah retains his large overall lead with 29 minutes and 16sec advantage on Peterhansel with Roma at 37min 59sec.

Al Attiyah finished fourth, while Peugeot driver Sebastien Loeb had a day to forget, finishing more than 30 minutes down after suffering an early electrical problem in the stage that began and ended in San Juan de Marcona.

"That was a really hard stage, tough," said the Frenchman. "It wasn't perfect and in fact we (he and his co-driver) have yet to race a perfect stage."

"Early in the race we flew over a dune and suffered such a violent impact I saw stars," said the Mini man who suffered a broken bonnet in the incident.

"But in the end the others did worse than we did," he added.

Race isn't over yet!

Race isn't over yet!

"And this race isn't finished yet," said Peterhansel, second with three stages remaining. "Anything can happen to anyone."

Peterhansel, a 13-time winner who is known as 'Mr Dakar', lost more than 20 minutes in the sixth stage but this was his second stage win on this year's itinerary.

Al Attiyah on top

Al Attiyah on top

But Peterhansel was candid while admitting that he has lots to ctach up with Al Attiyah.

"We got a bit closer to Nasser (Al Attiyah), but it'll be very hard to wrestle the lead from him," - Peterhansel said.

Al Attiyah and his French co-driver Mathieu Baumel are now just three stages away from Lima and giving Toyota Gazoo Racing their first Dakar title.

De Villiers' support

De Villiers' support

Al Attiyah and Baumel are benefitting from the support of team-mate Giniel de Villiers, the South African driver, who is staying as close as possible to the Qatari's Hilux in case he can offer assistance on the stage.

"We got a puncture on the way home and had a battle finding a few waypoints. But all in all, not too bad. A nice run on stage 7," said De Villiers.

Tough for Loeb

Tough for Loeb

It was a tough stage for nine-time world rally champion Loeb, who was hunting a fourth stage win of this Dakar.

The Frenchman lost 40 minutes due to an electrical issue in the first few kilometres. However, when Loeb got going again he was able to show his customary speed and eventually conceded less than half an hour to Peterhansel.

The Dakar Rally 2019 is getting down to the business end with the best 10 bikes, cars and five trucks starting at the same time on stage eight. This is sure to generate plenty of exciting wheel-to-wheel racing!It's time to shake things up!

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Story first published: Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 8:21 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 15, 2019
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