Suspension issue costs Peugeot's Peterhansel 2018 Dakar Rally lead

Peugeot driver Stephane Peterhansel has lost the lead of the 2018 Dakar Rally after a suspension problem caused him to stop during the seventh stage of the event

Suspension issue costs Peugeot's Peterhansel 2018 Dakar Rally lead

Peterhansel, a 13-time winner of the Dakar, had entered the La Paz - Uyuni stage 27 minutes clear of team-mate Carlos Sainz in the overall classification and looked on course to add to his lead, having topped the timesheets after three waypoints.

But he was forced to pull over 116 miles into the timed special, with Peugeot reporting his 3008DKR Maxi had suffered a damper failure and further suspension damage.

The Frenchman has now spent more than an hour at a standstill, and could find himself out of contention for victory at the conclusion of the stage.

Peterhansel's troubles are exacerbated by the fact the Saturday test, which features more than 260 miles of timed running, is part of Dakar's two-day 'marathon stage' format - meaning he and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret can receive no technical assistance from Peugeot's mechanics at the Uyuni bivouac.

The dramatic turn of events marks another heavy blow to Peugeot's farewell Dakar campaign, adding to Sebastien Loeb's retirement on day five and Cyril Despres' troubles earlier in the rally.

Despres, who sat 48th overall and more than 41 hours off the leader before the start of Saturday's running, was reported to have stopped to assist Peterhansel.

Sainz, the 2010 winner, is now Peugeot's chief hope at a farewell triumph, and appears likely to end the day with a lead of more than an hour.

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