Stephane Peterhansel maintained a secure Dakar Rally lead with a cautious run through Thursday’s La Rioja to San Juan stage, on which Nasser Al-Attiyah was fastest.
With the dramas for Peterhansel’s Peugeot team-mates Carlos Sainz and Sebastien Loeb earlier in the week handing the event legend a one-hour lead, Peterhansel was content to set a safe pace on stage 11 and was fourth quickest behind Al-Attiyah, Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen, eight minutes off the benchmark.
X-raid Mini driver Al-Attiyah’s stage win was achieved despite a broken driveshaft, but still leaves him 51 minutes adrift in second overall with just two stages remaining.
Loeb is still ninth in the outright standings, despite striking further technical problems late in the stage and needing to be towed to the finish by team-mate Cyril Despres.
Hirvonen’s third place on the stage brought him closer to Toyota driver Giniel de Villiers’ outright third position, with the gap between them down to five minutes.