Sunderland, Al-Attiyah shine in Dakar 3rd stage

Credit Florent Gooden  DPPI

Credit Florent Gooden DPPI

When we arrived in the dunes, I had the opportunity to come back.

In the vehicle category, Peugeot's Sebastien Loeb raced to his first stage win of 2018 but the day was a disaster for Toyota, with chief challenger Nasser Al-Attiyah losing nearly an hour.

"Mr Dakar" Stephane Peterhansel didn't put a wheel wrong all day to take his 72nd Dakar stage win - his first of 2018.

The nine times world rally champion moved up to second place overall from fourth, six minutes and 55 seconds behind, with Spaniard Carlos Sainz third in a one-two-three for the French manufacturer. Stephane Peterhansel of France and copilot Jean Paul Cottret of France drive their Peugeot. He wasn't alone, however, as numerous top drivers lost time in the same area.

Sainz, having got stuck in the dunes early on, was 18 minutes down at the finish line, and now trails Peterhansel by over half an hour in the general classification.

The bigger threat to Peterhansel's supremacy on the day had come from Yazeed Al-Rajhi of X-raid Mini. "We had two flat tires at the beginning and afterwards we took care because we didn't have any spares", al-Attiyah told the Dakar website. "They did an unbelievable job to replace our gearbox in just twenty minutes - but that meant that we'd lost even more time".

After getting back into contention yesterday, disaster struck for Nasser Al-Attiyah who lost more than 30 minutes to the leaders.

Joan Barreda Bort moved up from 14th fourth overall with a masterful ride on Stage 5. "One more day to go before the much deserved rest day", he added.

A spinal injury has forced reigning motorcycle class victor Sam Sunderland out of the event, while Yamaha claimed a 1-2 on the stage that put France's Adrien Van Beveren into the lead.

Further up the order Adrien van Beveren swept to another stage victory for the factory Yamaha squad by five minutes from team-mate Xavier de Soultrait. van Beveren now leads the overall classification by 1m55s from Husqvarna's Pablo Quintanilla with Honda's Kevin Benavides in third 3m15s off of the Yamaha rider.

His five-minute penalty from Stage 3 overturned, Price and Walkner were among a gaggle of riders within five minutes of the lead at the final waypoint, but the Australian would lose a further seven minutes before reaching the finish.

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