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Peterhansel goes into Dakar Rally rest day with 6min lead

January 8, 2021 GMT

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Defending champion Carlos Sainz dominated the sixth stage of the Dakar Rally and Stephane Peterhansel remained the overall leader on Friday going into the rest day.

Peterhansel was fourth on the dune-filled stage from Al Qaisumah in northeast Saudi Arabia, arriving 3 1/2 hours later in Ha’il only 18 seconds behind main rival Nasser Al-Attiyah to remain six minutes in front of the Qatari.

Peterhansel has led the race since Monday, and the Frenchman is eyeing a record-extending eighth win in cars, and his first since 2017.

“The positive is the new team with Edouard (Boulanger),” Peterhansel said. “This is the first time we’ve done a race together like the Dakar and also for him, he has never done the Dakar as a co-pilot. He’s done a really good job and I have a really good feeling with him.”

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Al-Attiyah suffered two punctures and trailed Peterhansel until the last kilometers of a stage which was shortened by 100 kilometers (60 miles) to 347 after the difficulties of stage five.

Despite winning his second stage of this Dakar, Sainz was 41 minutes behind Peterhansel overall in third. The next best was Jakub Przygonski, 70 minutes back.

Local driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi was second on the stage, while Sebastien Loeb, the nine-time world rally champion, broke a suspension arm early and was out of contention, if not the race.

In the motorbike class, Toby Price of Australia became the first rider to regain the overall lead after finishing seventh on the stage with a broken shroud.

Joan Barreda of Spain won his third stage of this Dakar, Ross Branch of Botswana was second, and Daniel Sanders of Australia third. They started 17th, ninth and 15th respectively to underline the topsy-turvy nature of the racing.

Defending champion Ricky Brabec went astray near the end, lost 3 1/2 minutes and finished the stage fourth, 2 1/2 minutes behind.

Price had a two-minute lead overall on Kevin Benavides, the previous leader followed by teammate Jose Ignacio Cornejo, and Branch.

Brabec was 20 minutes back in 13th.

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