Sainz takes lead of Dakar Rally after Peterhansel crashes

Sainz takes lead of Dakar Rally after Peterhansel crashes”

Carlos Sainz Sr. secured a second consecutive stage victory on Saturday to take over the overall lead of the Dakar Rally, but the veteran Spaniard is taking nothing for granted in the remaining seven days.

The Frenchman, bidding for a third successive triumph on four wheels, came to a halt after 186km of the run from the Bolivian capital of La Paz to Uyuni.

With former leader Stephane Peterhansel losing almost two hours after a crash, which compounded Peugeot's concerns following Sebastien Loeb's withdrawal from the race earlier in the week, Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah climbed to second place behind Sainz in the general classification as defending champion Peterhansel slipped back to third. Having begun the stage with a 27-minute advantage over Sainz, he has now slipped to third overall after a 90-minute stop to fix his vehicle and scrambled to the stage finish 1hr 20m46s behind Sainz.

"We were on a long straight with big puddles", said Peterhansel as he recounted the day's drama. "The entire rear was in bits and pieces - suspension, transmission shaft, shock absorbers.Everything was smashed up". What we did was cannibalize Cyril's auto.

"But my smile stays, this wasn't a make-or-break moment for my career". Nasser Al-Attiyah with his wide cross country rallying experience will want to push as hard as possible to cut down as much lead as possible before the 4x4 stages where the Qatari driver holds an edge over the competiton.

BC-CAR-Dakar Rally, 304 Sainz takes lead of Dakar Rally after Peterhansel crashesAP Photo XRM420, XRM422, XRM421Eds: With AP Photos.

Adrian van Beveren, second home, regained the overall lead by three minutes over former leader Kevin Benavides, who was third on the stage.

Van Beveren leads the event with a 3min 14sec advantage over Benavides while he has a 4min 45sec gap on Barreda.

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