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2012-01-03 07:54

GOING GETS TOUGH: Despite losing 10 minutes on Sunday and breaking his windscreen on Monday's Stage 2, defending champion Nasser al-Attiyah claimed the day. Image: AFP


Polish driver Krzysztof Holowczyc took the overall lead in the Dakar Rally here on Tuesday - with South Africa's Giniel de Villiers up to third.

San Rafael, Argentina - Qatar's defending car champion Nasser al-Attiyah rebounded from losing 10 minutes on the first stage of the 2012 Dakar Rally to taking Monday's second stage.

The 31-year-old, who had an engine problem with his Hummer during day one on Sunday, beat Mini's Stephane Peterhansel by 54sec over the 290km drive from Santa Rosa de la Pampa.

South Africa's Giniel de Villiers finished sixth on the day but is fourth overall on the rally.


Peterhansel - a six-times Dakar motorcycling champion and three times car champ - was the overall lead ahead of al-Attiyah's Hummer team mate Robby Gordon.

Al-Attiyah, who moved up to sixth, won despite a broken windscreen over which he admitted he should drive more carefully.

"We broke the window and it was very difficult because it took a lot of time to pass the other cars," said the Qatari, who started 38th. "I just said we had to have a good strategy and show we were still in the race.

"However, we must be more clever."

Peterhansel, 46, said he found few opportunities to gain time on his rivals. "The start of the special was fast, so it wasn't possible to steal a march on any of the others. We felt better at the end when it started to bump around a bit and get trickier around the dunes."


Gordon cursed his luck for not taking the stage on what was his 43rd birthday. "It was a good day for us, everything about the car was good," said Gordon, whose best Dakar finish was third in 2009.

"However, we hit a big rock and got a puncture and I reckon that, without that, we could have won the stage."

Motorcycling champion Marc Coma had earlier won his 17th career stage in the race. The Spaniard moved to the top of the standings after winning the 295km second stage which also saw him extend his lead over KTM team mate and main rival Cyril Despres who finished second on the stage but 1min18 behind Coma.

First-stage winner Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez of Chile was ahead at the first time marker but faded to finish fourth, more than two minutes behind Coma who said he had enjoyed the initial tussle with Lopez.

"Chaleco and I were riding at top speed and, let me tell you, the Aprilia is very, very quick," Coma, 35, said. "After that, we arrived at the second part of the special with sand and dunes. It was a lot more technical, with some navigation to do as well.

Bruno Da Costa

CATTLE CROSSING: Bruno da CosTa iwith his bike during Sunday's Stage 1 of the 2012 Dakar Rally. He went out on Stage 2 after colliding with a cow and is now in hospital. The cow died. Image: AFP

"I took the lead and kept riding at a good pace and I'm happy because I didn't get lost. So, it's been a good day for me!"


Despres nevertheless experienced a better day than he had on Sunday when he finished 13th - and
the three-times champion is nearly three minutes behind Coma.

"The first special was a good warm-up and this second special has done my confidence good... it was a good day overall," the Frenchman said.

One of Despres' compatriots, Bruno Da Costa, was not so fortunate. The 38-year-old Yamaha rider crashed into a cow - which was killed instantly - and he was taken to hospital with what appeared to be a serious kidney injury.

Results from Stage 2 of the 2012 Dakar Rally from Santa Rosa de la Pampa to San Rafael on Monday:

Cars (290km)
1 Nasser al-Attiyah (QAT) Hummer 2hr47min18
2 Stephane Peterhansel (FRA) Mini +54
3 Robby Gordon (USA) Hummer +2min42
4 Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL) Mini +3min31
5 Nani Roma (ESP) Mini +4min15
6 Giniel de Villiers (RSA) Toyota +4min37
7 Guilherme Spinelli (BRA) Mitsubishi +9min57
8 Leonid Novitzkiy (RUS) Mini +12min20
9 Ricardo Leal Dos Santos (POR) Mini +13min31
10 Lucio Alvarez (ARG) Toyota +14min10

1 Stephane Peterhansel (FRA) Mini 3hr20min33
2 Robby Gordon (USA) Hummer +2min28
3 Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL) Mini +2min33
4 Giniel de Villiers (RSA) Toyota +3min49
5 Nani Roma (ESP) Mini +5min32
6 Nasser al-Attiyah (QAT) Hummer +8min47
7 Guilherme Spinelli (BRA) Mitsubishi +11min07
8 Leonid Novitzkiy (RUS) Mini +11min17
9 Ricardo Leal Dos Santos (POR) Mini +14min41
10 Lucio Alvarez (ARG) Toyota +15min22

Motorcycling (295km)
1 Marc Coma (ESP) KTM 3hr07min01
2 Cyril Despres (FRA) KTM +1min18
3 Joan Barreda Bort (ESP) Husqvarna +2min33
4 Francisco Lopez (CHI) Aprilia +2min44
5 Jakub Przygonski (POL) KTM +4min17
6 David Casteu (FRA) Yamaha +7min14
7 Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR) KTM +9min11
8 Javier Pizzolito (ARG) Honda +9min25
9 Alain Duclos (FRA) Aprilia +9min27
10 Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP) KTM +9min35

1 Marc Coma (ESP) KTM +3hr40min12
2 Francisco Lopez (CHI) Aprilia +2min30
3 Cyril Despres (FRA) KTM +2:52
4 Jakub Przygonski (POL) KTM +4:52
5 Joan Barreda Bort (ESP) Husqvarna +8:16
6 David Casteu (FRA) Yamaha +8:26
7 Javier Pizzolito (ARG) Honda +9:38
8 Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR) KTM +10:38
9 Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP) KTM +11:45
10 Jordi Viladoms (FRA) KTM +12:10

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