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Stephane Peterhansel’s Dakar Rally hopes ‘smashed up’, Carlos Sainz grabs lead in cars segment

Indian rider CS Santosh of Hero MotoSports is placed 40th in the motorbikes segment of the Dakar Rally, while his teammate broke into the top 20.

other sports Updated: Jan 14, 2018 15:25 IST
Agencies, Uyuni (Bolivia)
Dakar Rally,Stephane Peterhansel,Carlos Sainz
France's Adrien van Beveren, the overall leader in the motorbikes segment, powers his Yamaha during Stage 7 of the 2018 Dakar Rally between La Paz and Uyuni, Bolivia, on Saturday.(AFP)

Stephane Peterhansel’s hopes of a 14th Dakar title suffered a potentially fatal blow on Saturday when his race-leading Peugeot was hit by a suspension failure which left him stranded for an hour and 45 minutes.

The Frenchman, bidding for a third successive triumph on four wheels, came to a halt after 186km of the run from the Bolivian capital of La Paz to Uyuni. Peterhansel, 52, had started the day with a comfortable 27min 10sec gap to Carlos Sainz, his Peugeot teammate who is now the race leader.

He eventually finished 1hr 47min 56sec behind the Spaniard to sit in third place overall, a huge 1hr 20min 46sec off the overall lead.

“We were on a long straight with big puddles,” said Peterhansel as he recounted the day’s drama. “A quad was stopped nearby, so I moved to the side and I heard a deafening crash. The entire rear was in bits and pieces -- suspension, transmission shaft, shock absorbers.Everything was smashed up.”

Van Beveren increases lead

Spain’s Joan Barreda, riding a Honda, claimed his third stage win on this year’s Dakar as France’s Adrien van Beveren, on a Yamaha, reclaimed the overall motorcycle lead.

Barreda finished the seventh stage with a 2min 51sec advantage over Van Beveren and 8min 02sec in front of Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, the Honda rider who had led the race overnight.

Van Beveren leads the event with a 3min 14sec advantage over Benavides while he has a 4min 45sec gap on Barreda.

CS Santosh 40th

Oriol Mena finished the stage in 17 position to break into top-20 while his Hero MotoSports teammate CS Santosh finished 39th for an overall ranking of 40.

Both Mena and Santosh tackled the stage with a steady head and arrived at the Uyuni bivouac safely, though deprived of any assistance from the team for the overnight halt as per the regulations of the marathon stage.

Stage 8 will see the competitors traverse through to Tupiza for the second leg of the marathon stage, which will test the riders with the longest special stage of the rally, covering nearly 500 km, including a high altitude dune crossing.

Tupiza will be the last halt for the rally in Bolivia before changing the borders again and crossing over to Argentina.

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 15:04 IST