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2010-01-08 08:18

Peter Burroughes

Stephane Peterhansel passed 11 cars on his way to his second stage win on the 2010 Dakar Rally in Argentina on Thursday.  

Driving a BMW X3 with fellow Frenchman Jean-Paul Cottret, the nine-times former Dakar winner (three in cars and six on bikes) finished the 418-km stage from Antofagasta to Iquique in Chile 6m 47s ahead of Spain’s Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz (Volkswagen Race Touareg) and 8m 55s quicker than American Mark Miller and South African Ralph Pitchford in another Race Touareg.

It was Peterhansel’s 20th Dakar stage win in a car and a record 53rd in total (cars and bikes). It improved his overall position from 10th on Wednesday (when he lost almost two hours and the rally lead with a broken propshaft) to eighth.

Three Touaregs continue to lead overall with Sainz extending his advantage over team-mates Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar and Timo Gottschalk of Germany to 15m 24s. Miller and Pitchford, winners of Wednesday’s stage, remain third overall and have closed the gap to Al-Attiyah to 2m 23s.

Carlos Sousa of Portugal has moved up to fourth overall in a Mitsubishi Lancer, but is 1h 16m 16s behind Miller and Pitchford. Fifth overall is the South African-built Nissan Navara of former Polish rally champion Krzysztof Holowczyc of Poland and Belgian Jean-Marc Fortin, 1h 43m 40s behind the leaders.

American Robby Gordon has dropped back to sixth overall in his Hummer, while early race leader Peterhansel in eighth is 2h 04m 02s behind Sainz. 

Pitchford third

Despite having to start stage six first and opening the way for the following cars, Miller and Pitchford did well to complete the stage in third place, 8m 55s behind winners Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret of France in a BMW X3 and 7m 08s behind Sainz and Cruz.  Al Attiyah was fourth, 11 min 34s behind Peterhansel.  

Defending Dakar champions Giniel de Villiers of South Africa and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz were eighth on the stage in their Race Touareg TDi and are now up to 16th overall.

After the disappointment of losing over two hours – and all chance of a second successive Dakar victory – on Monday when they experienced electrical problems on their Touareg and had to wait for their assistance truck, De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz have made up six places in the past three days, but are now concentrating on helping their team-mates.

In the bike category, Spain’s Marc Coma (KTM) won the stage, taking over 10 minutes out of main rival Cyril Despres (KTM) of France, who remains the overall leader, and improving his overall position from seventh to fourth. Despres was second, 10m 34s behind Coma and four seconds ahead of Portuguese rider Helder Rodriguez (Yamaha).  

Overall (cars):
1 Carlos Sainz (Spain) VW Race Touareg, 20h 35m 33s
2 Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) VW Race Touareg, +15m 24s
3 Mark Miller (America) VW Race Touareg, +17m 47s
4 Carlos Sousa (Spain) Mitsubishi Lancer, +1h 34m 04s
5 Krzysztof Holowczyc (Poland) Nissan Navara, +1h 43m 40s

Overall (bikes):
1 Cyril Despres (France) KTM, 21h 35m 59s
2 Lopez Contardo (Chile) Aprilia, +42m 15s
3 Helder Rodriguez (Portugal) Yamaha, +44m 05s
4 Marc Coma (Spain) KTM, +1h 06m 21s
5 Pal-Anders Ullevalsetter (Norway) KTM, +1h 14m 42s

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