Peterhansel pushes back

Today's (Thursday) ultra-tough eighth stage saw a number of decisive changes in the leaderboard of the Dakar Rally. Stéphane Peterhansel kept out of trouble and so takes a lead of over an hour to the overnight halt at Tidjikja

Peterhansel pushes back

Peterhansel won today's 355km stage by 28 minutes ahead of Jutta Kleinschmidt's Volkswagen, as his team-mate Hiroshi Masuoka hit gearbox problems and dropped to third in the overall standings. Grégoire de Mevius moved up to second in the rally.

Peterhansel knew he was lucky to avoid problems today: "Today was the first really difficult stage," he said. Masuoka had had problems even before his gear maladies, when he allegedly had a gun pointed at him by a Mauritanian customs official demanding money.

Colin McRae had to wait for assistance around the 300km mark, which has dropped him from his strong third place all the way to eighth - three and a half hours behing Peterhansel.



"There are only three competitors who know how to navigate properly," said event veteran Jean-Louis Schlesser. "Peterhansel, Masuoka and Kleinschmidt. Everyone else got lost today, including myself."

With Kleinschmidt facing disqualification for an earlier infringement, it seems that only Masuoka can hope to catch Peterhansel on speed alone by Dakar. But the Japanese insisted this evening that he can only fight for second place now.



Peterhansel 18h54m38s
de Mevius +1h04.38s
Masuoka +1h22m32s
Schlesser +1h29m42s
Alphand +2h50m07s
Housieaux +3h20m3s

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