Roma's bad tactics slow Giniel
DOUBLE DOWN IN THE DUNES: The original wire service caption for this image said SA's Giniel de Villiers was helping Mini's Nani Roma out of a hole. In fact Roma was holding up Villiers - and they nearly crashed. See story. Image: AFP
CALAMA, Chile - Qatar's Nasser al-Attiyah slashed 10-times champion Stephane Peterhansel's 2013 Dakar rally lead by more than eight minutes on Thursday as he stormed to victory on Stage 6.
Al-Attiyah, who won the rally in 2011, started the day 9min54 behind defending champion Peterhansel but finished only 1min18 off his overall lead by winning his third stage of the 2013 event, a 438km special from Arica to Calama.
GINIEL STILL THIRD
The Qatari, in a Buggy, clocked 4hr52min with Peterhansel, in a Mini, second ahead of American Nascar driver Robby Gordon, who was nearly 14 minutes behind al-Attiyah.
Dakar stage 6 gallery
Peterhansel said at the end of the stage: "We did a good job and I'm quite happy to be here, without any mistakes - the car working very well, the tyres were really good, and I'm quite happy with everything.
"We just try to keep going like this and we try to keep close to Peter because maybe on Friday the stage might not be for us, but okay, if we lose, we lose just a few minutes.
"We can feel the altitude, but we have a good ratio and we fixed it yesterday for altitude to keep the rpm always very high.
"Yeah, I'm quite happy."
Watch the Stage 6 video.
South Africa's Giniel de Villiers, driving a Toyota Hilux, was sixth to stay third overall but 42min31 back, 12 minutes more than on the previous day. And that was because Nani Roma (Mini) was holding him up in the dust, refusing to move over even when Villiers used the special horn each vehicle has to warn slower drivers to get out of the way.
Eventually Roma lost it, crashed into a hole in the sand, and Villiers just avoided crashing into the stuck Mini - becoming stuck himself. He and co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz spent some time with sand ramps extracting their Toyota Hilux. It all helped Roma's Mini team mate Stephane Peterhansel... and for sure Villiers wasn't helping Roma!
Al-Attiyah's 17th career Dakar stage win was tempered, however, when it was revealed that team mate Carlos Sainz, the 2010 champion, had been forced to retire. The Spaniard, who won the first two 2012 stages before falling badly off the pace, was forced out when the engine in his Buggy failed 179km into the stage.
KTM rider Francisco Lopez celebrated the arrival of the race in his native Chile with his third stage win on the 2013 event in the motorcycling section.
Olivier Pain still leads the overall standings with a 2min22 lead over four-times winner and defending champion Cyril Despres. A third Frenchman, David Casteu, was third at 4min48 off the lead.
Lopez said later: "The first part of the special went very well but on the second section the engine lost a fair bit of power and I started wondering whether it was a fuel problem or due to the altitude.”
Sainz commented about his retirement: "I hope the experience will be useful for the future. I've had a lot of problems since the start of the rally and today just took the biscuit! Something must have broken in the engine, but I don't know exactly what.
"It just happened all of a sudden. There wasn't any temperature warning or anything, but on the whole I'm feeling positive and happy. We knew what happened was always a possibility: it's a new vehicle which hasn't driven that much but it was worth coming here with this concept.
"The proof is that Nasser (al-Attiyah) is battling for victory. I hope the experience will be useful for the future even if I'm not sure whether I'll come back."
Earlier in the day two people were killed and seven hurt in a head-on collision between a Dakar support vehicle and a taxi near Peru's border with Chile, race organisers reported.
One of two taxis was in the crash but a second overturned as its driver tried to avoid the collision. Two people in the first taxi, one of them the driver, were killed and seven people, four of them Peruvian, were injured.
Three of the injured, who were travelling in a Land Rover support vehicle, were British members of the Race2Recovery team which is made up of British and US servicemen who have been severely injured and lost limbs in foreign conflicts.
All three were flown by an Antonov aircraft to hospital in Lima where they were said to be "stable and conscious" with "non-life-threatening" injuries.
Wheels24 will be following the 'Dakar' rally throughout the race. Keep up with things on our Dakar Rally section.
Dakar Rally results after Jan 10th’s Stage 6, a 769km (438km timed) run between Arica and Calama
1 Nasser al-Attiyah (QAT/Buggy) 3hr32min08
2 Stephane Peterhansel (FRA/Mini) +8min36
3 Robby Gordon (USA/Hummer) +13min52
4 Orlando Terranova (ARG/BMW) +14min13
5 Leonid Novitskiy (RUS/Mini) +15min48
6 Giniel De Villiers (RSA/Toyota) +17min17
7 Lucio Alvarez (ARG/Toyota) +25min36
8 Ronan Chabot (FRA/SMG) +25min53
9 Guerlain Chicherit (FRA/SMG) +28min28
10 Erik Wevers (NED/HRX) +30min16.
1 Stephane Peterhansel (FRA/Mini) 14hr36min16
2 Nasser al-Attiyah (QAT/Buggy) +1min18
3 Giniel De Villiers (RSA/Toyota) +42min31
4 Leonid Novitskiy (RUS/Mini) +44min47,
5 Guerlain Chicherit (FRA/SMG) +1hr16min26
6 Ronan Chabot (FRA/SMG) +1hr27min52
7 Nani Roma (ESP/Mini) +1hr30min52
8 Bernard Errandonea (AND/SMG) +1hr50min37
9 Carlos Sousa (POR/Great Wall) +2hr02min55
10 Orlando Terranova (ARG/BMW) +2hr05min27
1 Francisco Lopez (CHI/KTM) 3hr36min21
2 Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) +2min34
3 Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) +3min48
4 Kurt Caselli (USA/KTM) +4min48
5 Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHI/Honda) +6min13
6 Frans Verhoeven (NED/Yamaha) +6min41
7 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Honda) +6min58
8 Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP/KTM) +7min22
9 Olivier Pain (FRA/Yamaha) +7min33
10 Jakub Przygonski (POL/KTM) +7min48
1 Olivier Pain (FRA/Yamaha) 15hr35min23
2 Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) +2min22
3 David Casteu (FRA/Yamaha) +4min48
4 Francisco Lopez (CHI/KTM) +6min06
5 Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) +8min35
6 Jakub Przygonski (POL/KTM) +19min15
7 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) +22min08
8 Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHI/Honda) +24min38
9 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Honda) +25min23
10 Alessandro Botturi (ITA/Husqvarna) +27min02