RALLY MASTER: Sebastien Loeb secured his first stage win of the Dakar 2017 with a victory on day 2 of the world's most gruelling race. Image: AFP / Franck Fife
Tucumn, Argentina - Decorated Frenchman Sebastien Loeb scorched to victory in the second stage of the Dakar Rally on Tuesday (January 3) to send the nine-time rally world champion clear in the overall standings.
Loeb completed the 275km timed section between Resistencia and San Miguel de Tucuman in northern Argentina in 2hr06min55sec for his fifth career stage victory in the gruelling race.
In 2016, he finished ninth overall.
Tuesday's performance on day two of the race was enough to lift him clear in the overall classification as he saw off Qatari opening-day winner Nasser Al Attiyah by 1min 23sec and fellow Peugeot man Carlos Sainz of Spain by 2min18.
That gave Loeb a 28sec overall lead over Attiyah and he leads Sainz by 1min56.
Australia's KTM rider and defending champion Toby Price, meanwhile, took the overall race lead on the motorbikes as he landed the day's stage honours.
Price, 29, covered the 275km in 2hr37min32sec, ahead of Austrian Matthias Walkner and Spaniard Paulo Goncalves.
Both of the Aussie's pursuers are now more than two-and-a-half minutes adrift in the overall standings.
Price finished the opening day in 17th position.
This year's Dakar Rally takes competitors into high altitudes during 9000km of racing, culminating in a grandstand finish at Buenos Aires on January 14.
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