Peterhansel win marred by death
DAKAR BIKER KILLED: France's Thomas Bourgin (KTM) during the 2013 Dakar Rally departure ceremony in Lima on January 5. He was killed, apparently instantly, on January 11 2013 before the start of Stage 7 in a collision with a police car in Cala
SALTA, Argentina - Ten-times Dakar champion Stephane Peterhansel extended his 2013 Dakar lead on Friday but the world's most gruelling endurance event was once again hit by tragedy when a French motorcyclist was killed.
SA pair run well in high Andes
As Peterhansel claimed Stage 7, which crossed the Andes at an altitude of around 5000m between Calama in Chile and Salta to build a lead of more than three minutes on Nasser l-Attiyah, the event was reeling from a third death in two days.
South Africa's Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Hilux) was fifth on the stage at +1min32 behind Peterhansel. That kept him in overall third at 44min03 behind overall leader Peterhansel.
BIKE RACER KILLED
Competitor Thomas Bourgin, 25, was involved in a collision with a Chilean police car on the link road to the start of Friday's stage.
"The rally's medical teams deployed on the ground were only able to certify the rider's death, probably instant," a statement on the race's official website reported.
Bourgin was 68th in the overall motorcycling rankings of his first Dakar.
2013 Dakar: Stage 7 gallery
Watch the Stage 7 video
On Thursday, two people were killed in a head-on collision between a rally support vehicle and a taxi near Peru's border with Chile.
Going into the 2013 event, 59 people, including 20 spectators, had died in events directly in or associated with the annual race.
On Friday, Peterhansel finished the 218km run with a 39sec lead over compatriot Guerlain
Chicherit (SMG) with American Nascar driver Robby Gordon (Hummer) 1min08 off the pace.
'VERY LONG LINK'
Al-Attiyah, 2011 champion who won his third stage of the 2013 race on Thursday to slash Peterhansel's overall lead to 1min18, was sixth on Friday in his Buggy, 1min 56 behind. He remains second overall but it is now 3min 14 behind defending champion Peterhansel in therace for the title.
Peterhansel said: "It was a very long link stage at more than 4000m above sea level. We even went over 4800m and started to feel the fatigue and headaches that can happen in that situation.
"But then we got stuck into the special, just 218km, and I have to admit that for the first 130km we were flat out. There was nothing to do, just 15 or 30 bends and we were driving at 150km/h."
In the motorcycling stage, America's Kurt Caselli (KTM) took the honours, winning in 1hr51min31s, an advantage of 1min23 over Chile's Francisco Lopez and Olivier Pain of France.
Pain still leads the overall standings by 6min06 ahead of Lopez.
Defending champion Cyril Despres, who had been second overall, dropped to more than 14 minutes off the pace after mechanical problems left him without fifth gear for half the distance.
Pain said: "Cyril's problems have given me a significant gap for the lead and that's a good thing for me.
"That's just part of racing but I'm not forgetting that it could happen to me, too, so I'm not getting cocky about it, especially since Cyril has the capacity to claw back the time he's lost."
Saturday's Stage 8 will be a 247km timed run between Salta and Tucuman.
Wheels24 will be following the 'Dakar' rally throughout the race. Keep up with things on our Dakar Rally section.
Dakar Rally results and standings after Friday's seventh stage, a 218km timed run between Calama, Chile and Salta, Argentina.
1 Stephane Peterhansel (FRA/Mini) 1hr47min27
2 Guerlain Chicherit (FRA/SMG) +39sec
3 Robby Gordon (USA/Hummer) +1min08
4 Orlando Terranova (ARG/BMW) +1min11
5 Giniel De Villiers (RSA/Toyota) +1min32
6 Nasser al-Attiyah (QAT/Buggy) +1min56
7 Erik Wevers (NED/HRX) +3min45
8 Leonid Novitskiy (RUS/Mini) +4min07
9 Carlos Sousa (POR/Great Wall) +4min34
10 Lucio Alvarez (ARG/Toyota) +6min24
1 Stephane Peterhansel (FRA/Mini) 16hr23min43
2 Nasser al-Attiyah (QAT/Buggy) +3min14
3 Giniel De Villiers (RSA/Toyota) +44min03
4 Leonid Novitskiy (RUS/Mini) +48min54
5 Guerlain Chicherit (FRA/SMG) +1hr17min05
6 Ronan Chabot (FRA/SMG) +1hr34min51
7 Bernard Errandonea (AND/SMG) +2hr02min18
8 Orlando Terranova (ARG/BMW) +2hr06min38
9 Carlos Sousa (POR/Great Wall) +2hr07min29
10 Erik Wevers (NED/HRX) +2hr31min22
1 Kurt Caselli (USA/KTM) 1hr51min31
2 Francisco Lopez (CHI/KTM) +1min23
3 Olivier Pain (FRA/Yamaha) +1min23
4 Frans Verhoeven (NED/Yamaha) +1min30
5 Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) +2min30
6 Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP/KTM) +2min42
7 Jakub Przygonski (POL/KTM) +2min51
8 David Casteu (FRA/Yamaha) +3min12
9 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) +4min06
10 Alessandro Botturi (ITA/Husqvarna) +4min39
1 Olivier Pain (FRA/Yamaha) +17hr28min17
2 Francisco Lopez (CHI/KTM) +6min06
3 David Casteu (FRA/Yamaha) +6min37
4 Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) +9min42
5 Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) +14min07
6 Jakub Przygonski (POL/KTM) +20min43
7 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) +24min51
8 Kurt Caselli (USA/KTM) +27min46
9 Alessandro Botturi (ITA/Husqvarna) +30min18
10 Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHI/Honda) +30min35