Peterhansel cleared of Dakar Rally infringement, X-raid appeals

Stephane Peterhansel's 2016 Dakar Rally status remains uncertain after the X-raid team appealed a stewards' decision to reject a protest it had lodged against the Peugeot driver

Peterhansel cleared of Dakar Rally infringement, X-raid appeals

Mini squad X-raid, which has won the event for the past four years, argued that Peterhansel had refuelled illegally in a neutral zone on stage eight on Monday.

Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin rejected X-raid's argument, saying "this refuelling was legal because it was on the roadbook. I don't understand the complaint."

The event stewards agreed in a hearing on Tuesday night and rejected the protest, but X-raid has now pledged to take it further.

"The stewards have made a decision regarding the protest, which we do not agree with," it said in a statement.

"This is why we have decided to appeal this decision as per our rights in the sporting regulations and the FIA International Sporting Code, and will take our case to the ASN, the FFSA and national courts of appeal."

Dakar organisers said a final decision should come before the rally ends on Saturday.

Peterhansel currently runs second in the rally, seven minutes behind Peugeot team-mate Carlos Sainz, with X-raid's lead runner Nasser Al-Attiyah a further seven minutes back in third.

Potential punishments for Peterhansel include a six-hour time penalty or exclusion from the rally.

Peugeot has led the 2016 Dakar since the first full length stage, with Sainz, Peterhansel and Sebastien Loeb all spending time at the front but all having dramas as well.

Although Loeb is now two hours adrift following a crash on Monday and further delays on Tuesday, the fight between Sainz and Peterhansel remains open.

Famin said Al-Attiyah was too close behind for Peugeot to take any chances over the remaining four stages.

"Nasser is just 14 minutes behind and our objective remains the same: to bring all four cars to the finish at Rosario," he said.

"Our drivers are all here to serve the team and they are fully aware of that.

"But for now, given the very small advantage we have over Nasser Al-Attiyah, it would be suicidal to impose team orders."

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Peterhansel takes control of Dakar Rally as Sainz's run ends

Peterhansel takes control of Dakar Rally as Sainz's run ends
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