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2012-01-08 00:45

BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The 2012 Dakar Rally was back on track on Saturday after Friday's Stage 6 was cancelled due to bad weather over the San Francisco Pass between Argentina and Chile. Image: AFP

Copiapo, Chile - Defending champion Nasser al-Attiyah's roller-coaster Dakar Rally took another twist on Saturday when he won Stage 7 two days after a broken radiator dealt a potential hammerblow to his hopes.

It was the Qatari’s second 2012 stage win in his Hummer and he crossed the line 7min30 ahead of American team mate Robby Gordon.


Al-Attiyah lost 20 minutes on Thursday when the spare wheel on his vehicle came loose, damaged the radiator and caused the engine to overheat. He lost about 10 minutes on Stage 1 with mechanical trouble before bouncing back to claim Stage 2.

South Africa's Giniel de Villiers (Toyota Hilux) finished the stage sixth, 20min59 behind al-Attiyah. He is now fifth overall, 34min07 behind overall leader Peterhansel.

Overall leader Stephane Stephan Peterhansel finished third on Saturday in his Mini, 7min53 off the lead.


Spain's Marc Coma, riding a KTM, won Saturday’s motorcycle stage ahead of French team mate Cyril Despres but the latter kept the overall lead.

Coma covered the course in and around Copiapo in 3hr51min35, two minutes and three seconds faster than Despres.

"It's common knowledge that the stage before the rest day is always difficult and today was no exception, with stifling heat and very soft sand," Coma reported. “Nevertheless, we rode very fast and I was able to attack. I gained two minutes on Cyril but that is obviously not enough.”

Despres was critical of his own performance: "I was a bit lazy today, since Marc led the race from 200km onwards, the start of the second special, but I think that is also part of the race.

“I finished with my hands paralysed but it was a really beautiful special with beautiful dunes."

Portugal's Paulo Goncalves, on a Husqvarna, completed the top three on the first Chilean stage of this year's race, 2min49 off the pace.

Despres will go into Sunday's rest day with a 7min48 lead over Coma in the overall motorcycling standings.
Results from Stage 7 of the 2012 Dakar Rally on Saturday, a 419km special (573km total) in and around Copiapo:


1 Al-Attiya (Hummer) 3hr26min57
2 Gordon (Hummer) +7min30
3 Peterhansel (Mini) +7min53
4 Holowczyc (Mini) +14min57
5 Roma (Mini) +15min19
6 De Villiers (Toyota) +20min59
7 Dos Santos (Mini) +20min25
8 Novitskiy (Mini) +31min28
9 Sousa (Geat Wall) +39min48
10 Ten Brinke (Mitsubishi) +44min42

1 Peterhansel (Mini) 15hr32min53
2 Holowczyc (Mini) +11min22
3 Gordon (Hummer) +13min09
4 Roma (Mini) +18min05
5 De Villiers (Toyota) +34min07
6 Al-Attiyah (Hummer) +42min44
7 Novitskiy (Mini) +51min26
8 Sousa Great Wall) +1hr12min50
9  Alvarez (Toyota) +1hr41min38
10 Van Loon (Minsubishi) +1hr48min39


1 Marc Coma (ESP/KTM) 3hr51min35
2 Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) +2min03
3 Paulo Goncalves (POR/Husqvarna) +2min49
4 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Yamaha) +3min46
5 Gerard Farres Guell (ESP/KTM) +6min50
6 Pal Ullevalseter (NOR/KTM) +8min07
7 David Casteu (FRA/Yamaha) +8min43
8 Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) +8min48
9 Frans Verhoeven (NED/Sherco) +9min24
10 Jordi Viladoms (ESP/KTM) +11min26

1 Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) 18hr12min38
2 Marc Coma (ESP/KTM) +7min48
3 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Yamaha) +49min39
4 Paulo Goncalves (POR/Husqvarna) +55min33
5 David Casteu (FRA/Yamaha) +1hr05min58
6 Jordi Viladoms (ESP/KTM) +1hr07min40
7 Gerard Farres Guell (ESP/KTM) +1hr08min00
8 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) +1hr17min19
9 Francisco Lopez (CHI/Aprilia) +1hr17min20
10 Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP/KTM) +1hr23min48
Bookmark Wheels24’s Dakar Rally section.
2012 Dakar image gallery.

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