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2018-01-10 19:43

Image: AFP / Franck Fife

Arequipa, Peru - Sebastian Loeb was forced to pull out of the Dakar Rally after injury to his co-driver in a disastrous fifth stage on Wednesday.

The Peugeot driver's hopes of winning his first Dakar title at the third attempt appeared encouraging after he climbed to second in the standings with success in Tuesday's fourth stage.

But the nine-time world rally champion's Dakar dream was left in tatters after his car twice ran into sand trouble on the run from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipe in Peru.

Loeb's car became stuck in sand twice, with a truck having to help him out of a sand hole, costing him almost three hours.

But it was an injury suffered by co-driver Daniel Elena as they descended a dune that forced Loeb to bring a premature end to his 2018 Dakar.

"He screams as soon as I go over 30 km/h, I can't see how we can go on like this", explained Loeb.

He added later: "It went badly, the dunes are too soft, we did not see the hole, we hit it hard ... It's over, Daniel is bad, but he'll be okay. It's so soft, without the (assistance) truck, we wouldn't have got out," Loeb told France Television.

After his fourth stage win Loeb was placed seven minutes second to defending champion Stephane Peterhansel in another Peugeot.

Loeb's defection followed on from that earlier Wednesday of Andre Villas-Boas, the former Chelsea and Tottenham manager who had to pull out with a bad back, his Toyota team reported.

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Read more on:    peugeot  |  dakar 2018  |  sebastien loeb  |  peru  |  motorsport  |  dakar

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