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Robby Gordon wins shortened Dakar Rally stage

Robby Gordon wins shortened Dakar Rally stageAmerican Robby Gordon went fastest on the 11th stage of the Dakar Rally, which was shortened due to the poor weather conditions.

The simultaneous flooding of two rivers at the 43 and 53-mile marks forced race directors to halt the stage after the first control point, just over a third of the way into what was scheduled to be a distance of 136 miles.

Gordon, driving a Hummer run by his own team, was fastest at the time of the stoppage and was therefore awarded victory, the first for the American in this year's event. It was also his eighth career stage win on the Dakar.

Ronan Chabot was second fastest in his SMG Buggy, 38 seconds behind Gordon, while Lucio Alvarez finished third in the Overdrive Toyota.

Rally leader Stephane Peterhansel lost 21s to main rival Giniel de Villiers after finishing sixth, one place behind the South African.

X-raid Mini driver Peterhansel continues to lead the event by nearly 52 minutes from de Villiers, who was left lamenting the stage-shortening as he reckoned he could have reduced the gap to his rival even more.

"When they stopped us we waited for quite a few minutes for the first car to arrive - I think. I don't know, close to 10 minutes, maybe," he said.

"It's unfortunate, but we had a good stage up until then. The car ran well, so it's a pity the stage had to be stopped.

"Stephane said they made a mistake and maybe we had a chance to take 10 or 15 minutes, but he's a long way in the lead, over 50 minutes. It could maybe put just a little bit more pressure on. But it's not to be, so we'll try again tomorrow."

Thursday's stage is a 198-mile run from Fiambala to Copiapo, during which the drivers will cross the Andes and return to the Atacama desert.

AUTOSPORT Dakar blogs:

Race2Recovery: A different kind of battle
AUTOSPORT's Sam Tremayne with X-raid

Stage 11 times:

Pos  Driver                  Team/Car            Time/Gap
 1.  Robby Gordon            Gordon Hummer         50m51s
 2.  Ronan Chabot            SMG Buggy            +   38s
 3.  Lucio Alvarez           Overdrive Toyota     + 1m47s
 4.  Bernard Errandonea      SMG Buggy            + 3m29s
 5.  Giniel De Villiers      Imperial Toyota      + 3m55s
 6.  Stephane Peterhansel    X-raid Mini          + 4m34s
 7.  Nunzio Coffaro          Azimut Toyota        + 4m57s
 8.  Carlos Sousa            Great Wall           + 5m25s
 9.  Boris Gadasin           G-Force Nissan       + 6m52s
10.  Orlando Terranova       X-raid BMW           + 7m12s

Leading positions after stage 11:

Pos  Driver                Team/Car            Time/Gap
 1.  Stephane Peterhansel  X-raid Mini        29h07m25s
 2.  Giniel de Villiers    Imperial Toyota     + 51m59s
 3.  Leonid Novitskiy      X-raid Mini       + 1h26m40s
 4.  Nani Roma             X-raid Mini       + 1h37m09s
 5.  Orlando Terranova     X-raid BMW        + 2h01m27s
 6.  Carlos Sousa          Great Wall        + 2h35m51s
 7.  Guerlain Chicherit    SMG Buggy         + 2h56m15s
 8.  Ronan Chabot          SMG Buggy         + 2h58m56s
 9.  Bernard Errandonea    SMG Buggy         + 3h01m33s
10.  Pascal Thomasse       MD Buggy          + 3h44m51s
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