Peugeot's Stephane Peterhansel reckons that working with long-time co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret should be a major advantage for the second week of the Dakar Rally.
Cottret has partnered Peterhansel since 1999 and has helped the Frenchman to his five Dakar wins in the car category.
His closest rival Sebastien Loeb meanwhile has former WRC co-driver and fellow Dakar rookie Daniel Elena alongside him, and Peterhansel believes that his more experienced navigator could be crucial in his quest for another victory.
"Sometimes it's possible to win or lose the Dakar with good navigation," he told Motorsport.com.
"And we are in a good position because my navigator has a lot of experience and that should be beneficial for us."
Peterhansel also noted he was surprised to have taken the overall lead after Friday's run as he passed his compatriot and teammate Loeb.
The nine-time WRC champion held a comfortable lead at the start of the day, but issues with his 2008DKR16 meant he lost eight minutes on the stage and now trails by 27s - a gap that Peterhansel reckons is completely irrelevant.
"To lead or be second, only 27s adrift, is exactly the same. The important thing is to put pressure while being in the top three," he said.
Sainz hopes for better second week
While Loeb and Peterhansel fight it out at the top, Sainz sits third, 5m55s behind the leader - having found himself stuck behind a struggling Loeb during Stage 6.
"We had some problems, no mechanical issues, but being behind Sebastien Loeb for 200km is not an ideal situation," he said. "But the result is good for us."
The Spanish driver now hopes for a better run in the second week. “The good news is that we are close to the leaders, and that’s what matters."
Interview by Luis Ramirez