Dakar 2018, Stage 13: Sainz on verge of win, Peterhansel crashes

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Dakar 2018, Stage 13: Sainz on verge of win, Peterhansel crashes
Valentin Khorounzhiy
By: Valentin Khorounzhiy
Jan 19, 2018, 11:13 PM

Carlos Sainz edged closer to his second Dakar Rally victory on the penultimate stage, but his Peugeot team is set to miss out on a one-two finish following a crash for Stephane Peterhansel.

#303 Peugeot Sport Peugeot 3008 DKR: Carlos Sainz, Lucas Cruz
#303 Peugeot Sport Peugeot 3008 DKR: Carlos Sainz, Lucas Cruz
#300 Peugeot Sport Peugeot 3008 DKR: Stéphane Peterhansel, Jean-Paul Cottret
#301 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mathieu Baumel
#305 X-Raid Team Mini: Mikko Hirvonen, Andreas Schulz
#318 Toyota: Lucio Alvarez, Robert Howie

Peterhansel was 45 minutes behind Sainz and 20 clear of Toyota's Nasser Al-Attiyah heading into Friday's San Juan – Cordoba stage, which featured two timed sections of 124km and 244km split by a liason of 382km.

The Frenchman hit a tree early in the day's running, which resulted in steering damage on his Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi and left the 13-time Dakar champion with a thumb sprain.

Assisted by teammate Cyril Despres, he lost almost an hour making it to the neutralised zone, where his car was finally attended to by an assistance crew.

The Frenchman is currently on track to end the day fourth in the general classification.

As he took profit from Peterhansel's misfortune, Al-Attiyah duly topped the day's timesheets, banking his fourth stage win of this year's Dakar.

Yet with Sainz cruising to the end of the stage, the Spaniard's 46-minute lead over Al-Attiyah should, barring disaster, prove unassailable in the Saturday finale.

Overdrive's Lucio Alvarez and Al-Attiyah's Toyota Gazoo teammate Giniel de Villiers were closest to the Qatari on the day, giving the Japanese marque its first 1-2-3 stage lockout in the 2018 marathon.

Another Toyota driver Bernhard ten Brinke was again among the frontrunners in the stage, and was in the lead upon arriving at the neutralised zone.

Yet the Dutchman's hopes of a maiden Dakar podium – boosted by the Peterhansel accident – were then dashed abruptly. He retired with a mechanical failure, his exit promoting de Villiers to third overall.

The 2018 Dakar will conclude on Saturday with a 120km loop near Cordoba.

Standings after Stage 12 (Car class, top 10):

Pos. Driver / Co-driver Car Time/Gap
1

 Carlos Sainz

 Lucas Cruz

Peugeot 47h46m30s
2

 Nasser Al-Attiyah

 Mathieu Baumel

Toyota +46m18s
3

 Giniel de Villiers

 Dirk von Zitzewitz

Toyota +1h20m00s
4

 Stephane Peterhansel

 Jean-Paul Cottret

Peugeot +1h28m08s
5

 Jakub Przygonski

 Tom Colsoul

Mini +2h46m32s
6

 Khalid Al Qassimi

 Xavier Panseri
Peugeot +4h20m40s
7

 Martin Prokop
 Jan Tomanek

Ford +7h21m55s
8

 Peter van Merksteijn

 Maciej Marton

Toyota +7h42m41s
9

 Sebastian Halpern

 Edu Pulenta

Toyota +9h09m04s
10

 Lucio Alvarez

 Robert Howie

Toyota +9h21m22s

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