X-raid Mini driver Stephane Peterhansel headed the seventh stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally, reclaiming second place overall thanks to a technical issue for Sebastien Loeb.
Loeb - already trailing Toyota's Nasser Al-Attiyah in the overall order - gave up over half an hour after stopping to fix an electrical fault around 50km into the stage.
While Loeb's pace was unmatched from then on, it wasn't enough to mitigate the damage to his victory hopes.
The start of Monday's stage, which looped around San Juan de Marcona and featured 331 timed kilometres, was postponed by nearly an hour due to fog in the morning.
Peterhansel (pictured above) ran neck and neck with fellow X-raid driver Nani Roma through the opening waypoints, but his Mini buggy soon overpowered the 4x4 car of the Spaniard Roma.
The 13-time Dakar champion Peterhansel was 4m33s clear of Roma at the finish to clinch his second stage win of the rally and make a substantial dent in Al-Attiyah's marathon lead, reducing it to 29 minutes.
Al-Attiyah (pictured below) was left first on the road after Loeb's early drama, and dropped further and further off the pace as the stage progressed, ending up 12 minutes slower than Peterhansel.
The Toyota driver will look to protect his lead of just under 30 minutes over the final stages, featuring 785 kilometres of timed running in total.
Roma is nine and a half minutes back from Peterhansel in third place, and has a 16-minute buffer over Loeb in the battle for the final podium spot.
Defending Dakar champion Carlos Sainz was third on the day in his Mini buggy, and has broken back into the overall top 10, but is more than five hours down on Al-Attiyah.
The last Mini buggy, that of Cyril Despres, was fifth fastest, as the former Dakar bikes champion continued to hold that same position in the general classification.
Leading stage seven times
|1||Stephane Peterhansel||X-Raid Mini John Cooper Works Rally Team||Mini/BMW||4h00m01.s|
|2||Nani Roma||X-Raid Team||Mini/BMW||33.s|
|3||Carlos Sainz||X-Raid Mini John Cooper Works Rally Team||Mini/BMW||28.s|
|4||Nasser Al-Attiyah||Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa||Toyota||58.s|
|5||Cyril Despres||X-Raid Mini John Cooper Works Rally Team||Mini/BMW||50.s|
|6||Giniel de Villiers||Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa||Toyota||31.s|
|7||Jakub Przygonski||Orlen Team / X-Raid||Mini/BMW||50.s|
|8||Wei Han||Geely Auto Shell Lubricant Cooper Tire T||SMG/MD||16.s|
|9||Bernhard Ten Brinke||Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa||Toyota||45.s|
|10||Martin Prokop||MP Sports||Ford||29.s|
Leading positions after stage seven
|1||Nasser Al-Attiyah||Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa||Toyota||25h13m30.s|
|2||Stephane Peterhansel||X-Raid Mini John Cooper Works Rally Team||Mini/BMW||29m16.s|
|3||Nani Roma||X-Raid Team||Mini/BMW||37m59.s|
|5||Cyril Despres||X-Raid Mini John Cooper Works Rally Team||Mini/BMW||1h20m01.s|
|6||Jakub Przygonski||Orlen Team / X-Raid||Mini/BMW||2h12m02.s|
|7||Martin Prokop||MP Sports||Ford||2h34m58.s|
|8||Yazeed Al-Rajhi||X-Raid Team||Mini/BMW||3h39m33.s|
|9||Bernhard Ten Brinke||Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa||Toyota||4h32m31.s|
|10||Carlos Sainz||X-Raid Mini John Cooper Works Rally Team||Mini/BMW||5h15m31.s|
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