Al-Attiyah wins Dakar stage for Mini, Loeb crashes and loses lead

Nasser Al-Attiyah claimed Mini's first stage victory of the 2016 Dakar Rally, as Sebastien Loeb lost one hour and the lead after rolling

Al-Attiyah wins Dakar stage for Mini, Loeb crashes and loses lead

With competitors getting their first proper taste of Dakar dunes as the event entered its second week, Al-Attiyah was the dominant force between Salta and Belen.

He was more than one minute faster than Loeb through to the first control point, and two minutes clear of the Frenchman's Peugeot team-mate Carlos Sainz.

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From there, Sainz went on a charge.

He cut Al-Attiyah's lead to 15 seconds at the third control point, and led by 47 seconds at the final timing interval.

Al-Attiyah was able to fight back, though, to win the day by 12 seconds over Sainz and end Peugeot's run of stage victories at seven.

Loeb's hopes of winning the event in his first attempt appear over.

The nine-time WRC champion was running within one minute of Al-Attiyah before losing eight minutes when he got stuck in dunes.

There was worse to come. With approximately 20 of the day's 335 miles remaining, the Peugeot rolled heavily.

After patching up their 2008 DKR, Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena eventually reached the end of the stage with a time 68 minutes slower than Al-Attiyah.

The pair fall to eighth in the overall standings, 65 minutes behind team-mate Stephane Peterhansel, who regained the lead despite losing six minutes himself due to a puncture.

"20 kilometres from the end at a large river, with the speed at around 120 kmh, there was a big hole and he crashed into the hole and rolled," Peterhansel said of Loeb's accident.

"I don't know how many rolls, but he was OK, he was out of the car and told us it was OK and we could go."

Sainz is now second, 2m9s behind Peterhansel, with Al-Attiyah 14m43s minutes behind.

One of the benefactors of Loeb's troubled day, Mikko Hirvonen was fifth for the day and moves up to fourth in the standings.

LEADING STAGE EIGHT TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Nasser Al-Attiyah Axion X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 4h12m23.s
2 Carlos Sainz Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 12.s
3 Stephane Peterhansel Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 31.s
4 Cyril Despres Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 4m40.s
5 Mikko Hirvonen Axion X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 6m42.s
6 Nani Roma Axion X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 10m11.s
7 Orlando Terranova Monster Energy Rally Raid Team Mini/BMW 11m37.s
8 Leeroy Poulter Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Toyota 12m06.s
9 Yazeed Al-Rajhi Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Toyota 14m21.s
10 Erik van Loon Vanloon Racing Mini/BMW 15m16.s

OVERALL LEADERS AFTER STAGE EIGHT:

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