Dakar: X-raid calls off Nani Roma and Stephane Peterhansel's battle
|Thursday, January 16th 2014, 21:24 GMT|
Stephane Peterhansel admitted that his hopes of victory in the 2014 Dakar were over after his X-raid Mini team called off the fight for the lead.
The Frenchman had closed to within two minutes of leader Nani Roma after stage 10 on Wednesday, with X-raid's Minis dominant in this year's event.
But amid worries from team chiefs that the battle for victory could lead to both men taking risks, Peterhansel was told that he had to hold off on attacking.
During Thursday's stage from Antofagasta to El Salvador, he duly complied and fell back by a further three minutes.
The result leaves him more than five minutes adrift and he conceded after Thursday's finish that the battle for the win was done.
"The game is over," he said. "We've had a good laugh and enjoyed ourselves.
"Yesterday evening, the team asked us to not take any more risks.
"It's a bit frustrating because we've done most of the hard work.
"But, if Mini wants to have three cars on the podium, at the speed at which we are driving out in front, it's easy to crash a car or even two in just one day.
"We know that this can happen, but I didn't think that they would do it."
Team boss Sven Quandt said the pace that Peterhansel and team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah had been setting as both recovered from earlier problems had been too bold.
"The risk that something goes wrong at the enormous speed the two were racing at got just too big," said Quandt.
"We wanted cars and drivers to safely make it to the finish and we want to see three Mini ALL4 Racings on the podium."