Nasser al-Attiyah closes on Stephane Peterhansel after Dakar stage win
Last Updated: 10/01/13 10:42pm
Nasser al-Attiyah: Closing in on leader Stephane Peterhansel
Nasser al-Attiyah cut Stephane Peterhansel's Dakar Rally lead to just one minute and 18 seconds after another superb performance by the Qatari on the sixth stage.
Al-Attiyah started the day nine minutes and 54 seconds behind defending champion Peterhansel, but he slashed that by over eight minutes by winning his third stage, a 438km special from Arica to Calama.
The Qatari, in a Buggy, clocked four hours and 52 minutes with Peterhansel, in a Mini, in second spot ahead of American NASCAR driver Robby Gordon - who was nearly 14 minutes behind al-Attiyah.
South Africa's Giniel de Villiers, driving a Toyota, was sixth to stay third overall, 42 minutes behind the leader.
Al-Attiyah's 17th career Dakar stage win was tempered, however, when it was revealed team-mate Carlos Sainz, the 2010 champion, had been forced to retire.
The Spaniard, who won the first two stages before struggling badly and falling out of contention, was forced out when the engine in his Buggy failed at the 179km mark.
In the motorcycling event KTM rider Francisco Lopez celebrated the arrival of the race in his native Chile by clinching his third win on this year's event.
Olivier Pain still leads the overall standings, two minutes and 22 seconds ahead of four-time winner and defending champion Cyril Despres with a third Frenchman, David Casteu, in third.
"The first part of the special went very well, but on the second section, the engine lost a fair bit of power and I started wondering whether it was a fuel problem or due to the altitude," said Lopez.