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Peterhansel grabs lead after ninth stage

Al Attiyah out of contention after mechanical failures

Image Credit: EPA
Stephane Peterhansel has increased his overall lead to 49minutes despite finishing ninth stage behind Joan Roma.
Gulf News

Cordroba, Argentina: Ten-time Dakar Rally champion Stephane Peterhansel took a commanding lead in the car category after finishing second in Monday’s ninth stage. Peterhansel was beaten by Spain’s Joan Roma in the stage race, but increased his overall lead to 49 minutes, 31 seconds over Giniel Devilliers of South Africa.

Nasser Al-Attiyah, who trailed Peterhansel’s Mini by only 3:14 after eight stages, suffered several mechanical breakdowns - including one just a few kilometres from the finish - that took him out of contention.

In the motorbike races, Ruben Faria of Portugal finished fourth on the stage but took the overall lead, 5:23 ahead of defending champion and KTM teammate Cyril Despres of France.

Despres won the stage, 4:03 ahead of Joan Barreda Bort of Spain and 5:14 in front of Alessandro Botturi of Italy. Faria finished fourth, 7:47 behind.

“I knew that it would be physically demanding, that I’d have to give it my all,” Despres said.

“I’ve got blisters on my feet, and my hands are sore. ... Ruben [Faria] and I are racing well for the team. He’s in good shape and that’s the most important thing right now.”

David Casteu of France, the motorbike leader after eight stages, slipped out of contention with mechanical problems and a fall in which he injured his right shoulder. He finished more than two hours behind.

Most of Saturday’s eighth stage was cancelled by torrential rain. Sunday was a rest day with the rally ending next Sunday in Santiago, Chile.