DOMINANT PEUGEOT: Peugeot driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean Paul Cottret topped the time sheets on stage four of the 2016 Dakar Rally. It was Peugeot's third stage win so far. Image: AP/ Frank Fife
San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina - Stephane Peterhansel kept afloat his bid for a 12th Dakar Rally crown when leading a Peugeot clean sweep in Wednesday's fourth stage around Jujuy in Argentina.
Peterhansel grabbed his 66th stage win, a record tally split equally between cars and bikes.
The marathon event's all-time most successful competitor held off team mates Carlos Sainz and Sebastien Loeb during the 429km stage.
"First Dakar special I win for Peugeot"
The 50-year-old from Alsace made his Dakar debut in 1988, winning the first of his six overall victories on two wheels back in 1991 and taking his 11th victory behind the wheel of a Mini in 2013.
Peterhansel said: "It's the first Dakar special I win for Peugeot, it's nice.
"We worked hard all year, but aren't too proud yet because we know we weren't able to carry out all the tests we wanted, and it's just the third day of racing.
Peterhansel added: "We had a good special, with no navigational mistakes and a high pace from the beginning. Our work is paying off."
Loeb retains overall lead
World rally legend Loeb, with two stage wins in the bag already on his promising Dakar debut, remained atop the overall standings with Peterhansel in second at 4min 48sec.
Defending Dakar champion, Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah (Mini) is third at 11min 9sec.
Al-Attiyah, who won bronze in the men's skeet shooting event at the London 2012 Olympics, reflected after his fourth place: "It ain't easy.
"I did my best to attack, but you just can't keep up with the Peugeots."
Drama in the bike category
Spain's Joan Barreda Bort won the motorcycling section only to be deprived of success for speeding for the second day running.
Barreda crossed the line clear of his Portuguese team mate Paulo Goncalves only to be docked five minutes and demoted to fourth.
Goncalves was handed the win ahead of his Portuguese compatriot Ruben Faria (Husqvarna) with Argentina's Kevin Benavides in third.
Goncalves said: "It was a good day, bringing the bike home in one piece was crucial. I'm happy for me and Honda."
Goncalves tops the overall times, 2min 17sec clear of Benavides, with Barreda now third, at 3min 3sec.
Thursday's fifth stage of the marathon two-week rally is a 327km ride from Jujuy to Uyuni with the crossing into Bolivia coming with a steep increase in altitude to 4500m - the highest point in this route.