Monday, 18 June, 2018

Dakar Rally 2018: Stage 4

World Rally Sebastien Loeb Peugeot Dakar Dakar Rally leader Sam Sunderland airlifted to hospital by helicopter as he retires with frightening back injury
Frank Williams | 13 January, 2018, 18:09

We got to a crest where another vehicle was stuck. When we arrived in the dunes, I had the opportunity to come back.

"The vehicle was going really well".

"Mr Dakar" Stephane Peterhansel didn't put a wheel wrong all day to take his 72nd Dakar stage win - his first of 2018. He also moved into the overall lead, taking a 1:55 advantage over Pablo Quintanilla of Chile.

WRC legend Sebastien Loeb (pictured) enjoyed a first stage win of the year after going toe to toe with Stephane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz for most of the day.

Another Frenchman, Sebastien Loeb, won the auto stage after dueling with defending champion and Peugeot teammate Stephane Peterhansel. He wasn't alone, however, as numerous top drivers lost time in the same area.

The former champions who started the day second and third overall dropped out of title contention. "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. "We are doing a good job at the moment though".

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Nasser Al-Attiyah was 24 minutes off Peterhansel's pace and now trails the Peugeot ace by an hour and 23 minutes in fourth overall, with Giniel de Villiers a further 11 minutes down after having finished the stage in third place. Peterhansel's general classification lead stands at 6m55s from Loeb with Sainz another six minutes further back, while Toyota's best hope Al-Attiyah is now nearly an hour behind the leader after a nightmare day. Overall, Mena now stands at the 21st position at the end of stage 5. "One more day to go before the much deserved rest day", he added.

British motorcyclist Sam Sunderland abandoned his Dakar Rally title defense Tuesday due to back pain, and Portuguese football coach Andre Villas-Boas was taken to a hospital after his auto crashed against a sand dune.

Van Beveren finished five minutes ahead of teammate Xavier de Soultrait and seven minutes in front of the Austrian KTM rider Matthias Walkner. The KTM rider has been transported by medical helicopter to the bivouac after being ruled out of finishing the fourth stage.

Santosh made a decision to play it safe and steady as the rally neared the halfway mark to finish the stage at 52nd position.

Wessel Bosman was the last of 114 surviving motorcycle competitors to finish Stage 5, and was also last in the overall standngs.

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