Peterhansel retains Dakar lead as Al-Attiyah closes gap

Toyota's South African Henk Lategan is second in Tuesday's stage

Mini's Stephane Peterhansel leads the rally by 5 min 9 sec from Toyota's Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Mini's Stephane Peterhansel leads the rally by 5 min 9 sec from Toyota's Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Image: REUTERS

Stephane Peterhansel retained his Dakar Rally lead in the car category after Tuesday's third stage as Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah in an SA-built Toyota Hilux closed the gap to five minutes in the Saudi Arabian desert dunes and canyons.

Al-Attiyah, a triple champion, took his third stage win after leading the way in Saturday's prologue and then clawing back time on Monday after losing 12 minutes on Sunday.

That propelled the Toyota driver to second overall, with Peterhansel's Mini buggy team mate and defending champion Carlos Sainz dropping to fourth after straying off route.

Sainz was 21st fastest, 33 minutes off the Frenchman's lead.

Today we really pushed a lot and (co-driver) Mathieu (Baumel) did the navigation well. Everything is working very well like we need it to

"Today we really pushed a lot and (co-driver) Mathieu (Baumel) did the navigation well. Everything is working very well like we need it to," said Al-Attiyah.

"I'm really quite happy with the pace because to open and to win the stage is good. There was one point where it was very, very difficult navigation and I think most of the drivers got lost there".

Peterhansel, nicknamed "Mr Dakar" because of his record 13 victories in the event on two wheels and four, had an early puncture and was third in the stage behind Toyota's South African Henk Lategan, who moved up to seventh overall.

After getting lost on Monday, SA's Giniel de Villiers had another bad day with a broken driveshaft and two punctures to his Hilux. The lost time to effect repairs saw him finishing 27th, and the former Dakar winner now lies 24th overall, 1 hour 46 minutes behind the leader.

In the motorcycle category, Australian Toby Price took his second stage win of the event while American Skyler Howes took the overall lead.

SA's Henk Lategan finished behind Nasser Al-Attiyah to make it a one-two for the Toyota Hilux team in Tuesday's stage.
SA's Henk Lategan finished behind Nasser Al-Attiyah to make it a one-two for the Toyota Hilux team in Tuesday's stage.
Image: SUPPLIED

Two times champion Price, who also won Sunday's opening stage on his KTM but started the day 29th after struggling on Monday, beat Argentine rider Kevin Benavides by a minute and 16 seconds after the 403km loop around Wadi Ad-Dawasir.

Howes, who had been eighth overall overnight, finished fourth in his non-factory KTM to go 33 seconds clear of Benavides.

Price moved up to fourth, one minute and 52 seconds off the lead, with Britain's 2017 winner Sam Sunderland fifth.


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