Peterhansel - who had started the day in the overall lead only for Al-Attiyah's team-mate and 2010 champion Carlos Sainz to be reinstated over a technical fault the previous day - finished third in the stage while American veteran Robby Gordon was second.
The technical problems that have affected the Buggy team hit Al-Attiyah at one point during the stage when he was allegedly penalised an hour which meant he dropped to 132nd and last in the car category.
However, according to race organisers this was erroneous and due to a computer bug.
Another Frenchman leads in the motorcycling category in the shape of four-time winner and defending champion Cyril Despres on a KTM.
Despres, 38, didn't win the stage, that honour going to Portuguese Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez also on a KTM - the Frenchman finished third while another Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves finished second.
Despres leads Lopez by 2min 51sec while Norwegian Pal Ullevalseter is third some 4min 59sec adrift.