Peterhansel heads Peugeot 1-2-3 as Loeb retains overall Dakar lead

Stephane Peterhansel took his first stage win of the 2017 Dakar Rally, while Peugeot team-mate Sebastian Loeb continued to lead overall as main challenger Nasser Al-Attiyah hit trouble

Peterhansel heads Peugeot 1-2-3 as Loeb retains overall Dakar lead

Al-Attiyah headed the pack for much of Wednesday's third stage and looked set to wrest the overall lead away from Loeb at the day's end, only for Al-Attiyah's Toyota Hilux to sustain significant damage, forcing him to stop.

After the first two days were run close to sea level, Wednesday's Argentina-based Tucuman - Jujuy test featured a major spike in altitude ahead of the rally's arrival in Bolivia.

The timed stage was split into two sections, a 240km opener and a 124km follow-up, linked by a neutralised road section where the cars climbed more than 5000m above sea level.

Loeb entered the day with a 28-second lead over Al-Attiyah, but his advantage soon disappeared, as the Qatari made up four minutes during the navigation-heavy opening kilometres.

Through the remainder of the first timed section, Al-Attiyah was instead challenged by Peterhansel, but managed to keep the Frenchman at bay, entering the neutralised zone with a two-minute advantage.

But Al-Attiyah's charge came to an end soon after he resumed timed running.

He badly damaged a wheel off-piste and ground to a halt.

He remained stationary for around an hour before resuming the stage, only to stop again shortly after.

With Al-Attiyah stranded, Peterhansel eased to stage victory, with Carlos Sainz Sr and Loeb making up a Peugeot 1-2-3.

Sainz trails Loeb by 42 seconds in the overall classification, with Peterhansel four minutes adrift.

X-Raid Mini's Mikko Hirvonen ran inside the top three for much of the stage, but eventually dropped back to fourth.

The Finn now sits best of the rest behind Peugeots in the main classification, trailing Loeb by 9m38s.

Al-Attiyah's dramas were far from the only bad news of the day for Toyota, as Nani Roma, Giniel de Villiers and privateer Erik van Loon all stopped in the second part of the stage.

Of the trio, Roma came off best, losing only a few minutes and finishing fifth, just ahead of Yazeed Al-Rajhi's X-Raid Mini and the fourth factory Peugeot of Cyril Despres.

De Villiers dropped to 35 minutes off the lead as a result of his stoppage.

LEADING STAGE TIMES

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Stephane Peterhansel Peugeot 4h18m17.s
2 Carlos Sainz Peugeot 1m54.s
3 Sebastien Loeb Peugeot 3m08.s
4 Mikko Hirvonen Mini/BMW 3m57.s
5 Cyril Despres Peugeot 7m48.s
6 Orlando Terranova Mini/BMW 11m26.s
7 Yazeed Al-Rajhi Mini/BMW 13m13.s
8 Nani Roma Toyota 13m16.s
9 Jakub Przygonski Mini/BMW 19m58.s
10 Ronan Chabot Toyota 23m52.s

OVERALL STANDINGS

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