X-RAID'S PETERHANSEL CLAIMS HIS FOURTH STAGE WIN OF 2010 DAKAR INTO SANTA ROSA DE LA PAMPA * Resurgent Chicherit sets superb third fastest time * X-raid's Novitskiy maintains 11th with 12th fastest time * Spain's Carlos Sainz takes slender 2m...
X-RAID'S PETERHANSEL CLAIMS HIS FOURTH STAGE WIN OF 2010 DAKAR INTO SANTA ROSA DE LA PAMPA
* Resurgent Chicherit sets superb third fastest time
* X-raid's Novitskiy maintains 11th with 12th fastest time
* Spain's Carlos Sainz takes slender 2m 48s lead into final day
SANTA ROSA (Argentina): Team X-raid GmbH's Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret claimed the fastest time on the 13th and penultimate stage of the 2010 Dakar Rally between San Rafael and Santa Rosa de la Pampa in Argentina on Friday.
Peterhansel's 55th career Dakar stage win and his 22nd in a car was also his fourth of this Dakar and the sixth out of 13 for Sven Quandt's Trebur-based BMW X-raid team this year, following single stage wins for both Joan 'Nani' Roma and Guerlain Chicherit.
Chicherit and Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner started the stage from 15th on the road and performed superbly to record the third fastest time behind Peterhansel and Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, but they finished in front of overall leader Carlos Sainz.
Russia's Leonid Novitskiy and German co-driver Andreas Schulz began the day in 11th overall and maintained their place just outside the top 10 after setting the 12th quickest time. Spaniard Sainz began the day with an overall advantage of 5m 20s and now heads into a thrilling final stage showdown on Saturday a mere 2m 48s in front of his team mate Al-Attiyah.
Today's 368km stage began with a tricky passage through the Nihuil dunes to 51km and then the tracks became much faster as the route headed across the pampas towards Santa Rosa. Peterhansel and Novitskiy started the special from fourth and 11th places on the road and Chicherit was moved up from 29th to 15th on safety grounds.
The X-raid duo crossed the dunes in fifth, sixth and 11th places and reached the 100km point in second, fifth and 11th, with Peterhansel trailing stage leader Al-Attiyah by 42 seconds. The Frenchman had gained 41 seconds on the Qatari through 165km and extended his virtual stage lead to 1m 12s through 216km, where Chicherit and Novitskiy were running in third and 10th positions.
Peterhansel's lead had risen to 1m 50s through 265km and held on to take the stage win by the margin of 1m 21s from Al-Attiyah, with Chicherit and Noviskiy reaching the end in third and 12th.
Tomorrow (Saturday) marks the 14th and final stage of the 2010 Dakar Rally and the return to Buenos Aires. The day starts with a 166km liaison from Santa Rosa to the start of a 206km special stage that finishes in the village of San Carlos de Bolivar.
Surviving crews will then follow a 335km liaison to the Argentine capital to prepare for the official ceremonial finish at La Rural on Sunday.