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

Stephane Peterhansel has moved into the lead of the 2016 Dakar Rally, after mechanical problems ended Peugeot team-mate Carlos Sainz's push for victory

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

Sainz, the 2010 Dakar winner, took the lead on Tuesday, but his time at the top was fleeting and ultimately cut short by a gearbox failure.

The start of 10th stage was delayed due to thunderstorms, before Sainz got lost and then picked up a puncture, losing five minutes to the opening control point.

He then set a cracking pace to lead by seven minutes at the next interval, before Peterhansel reclaimed top spot for the day - and the overall lead - as Sainz fell more than 20 minutes behind.

There was worse to come, though, with the Spaniard's Peugeot crawling to a halt due to a broken strut between the engine and gearbox approaching La Rioja.

Sainz's car was eventually recovered and brought back to the bivouac by a service truck, with Peugeot concluding that the damage was too severe for the crew to continue.

Peterhansel, who was cleared of a refuelling infringement pending an X-raid appeal, duly won the day's stage by five minutes over team-mate Cyril Despres.

He now leads the outright classification by exactly one hour over Nasser Al-Attiyah.

"We had a terrible start to the special," Peterhansel said of his own troubles.

"We got lost at 32km and wandered around for at least 15 minutes. I blew a fuse because I thought I'd lost everything.

"We took risks and threw caution to the wind. We pushed very hard because we knew today was the decisive stage.

"It was a stage with very tricky navigation, off-track sections, drainage channels... Everything that makes rally raid hard.

"As usual, this is where you see huge gaps.

"I had a flat tyre and started screaming my head off, I was a bit out of my mind today.

"However, when we got going, we were fast. We took a huge leap in the overall [standings]."

Al-Attiyah lost 52 minutes to 11-time Dakar winner Peterhansel after rolling early on Wednesday.

"We did a barrell roll after we hit an embankment 10km into the special, and it took us a while to put the car back upright," the Mini driver said.

"We had to take risks today. After that things got tricky because the car was damaged and we had to finish the stage without further problems.

"At the end of the day, I'm happy to make it to the finish.

"The ceiling and the cooling system were broken, and we had to stop several times to check whether everything was in order. Despite the adversities, we limited our losses.

"We're second overall, and now we have to try and defend this position."

Giniel de Villiers capitalised on Mikko Hirvonen's navigational problems to move into third place, while Sebastien Loeb - already more than two hours behind - was running third for the day before getting stuck in sand and losing more time.

He ended the day fifth, 17 minutes off Peterhansel's pace, and is ninth overall.


Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Stephane Peterhansel Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 3h58m32.s
2 Cyril Despres Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 5m40.s
3 Vladimir Vasilyev G-Energy Team Toyota 12m56.s
4 Nani Roma Axion X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 14m33.s
5 Sebastien Loeb Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 17m40.s
6 Giniel de Villiers Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Toyota 26m16.s
7 Miroslav Zapletal Offroadsport Hummer 27m46.s
8 Harry Hunt Axion X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 34m25.s
9 Emiliano Spataro Renault Duster Team Renault 34m30.s
10 Leeroy Poulter Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Toyota 37m36.s



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