Dakar 2018, Stage 11: Ten Brinke quickest for Toyota

Toyota driver Bernhard ten Brinke topped the 11th stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally, as Peugeot duo Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel maintained the status quo in the fight for overall victory.

Ten Brinke was the pace-setter for most of the day's running en route to wrapping up his second stage win in the Dakar – his first having come in the short opening test in the 2016 marathon.

Peugeot's Cyril Despres was the Dutchman's nearest rival on this occasion, finishing 4m35s off ten Brinke's pace through the 281km timed special of the Belen – Fiambala – Chilecito stage.

Despres' teammates Sainz and Peterhansel, first and second in the general classification, propped up the top four on the day.

The Spaniard had taken the early initiative in their Wednesday battle, and was at one point over three minutes up on Peterhansel's pace, but gave up that advantage towards the end of the stage.

He did beat Peterhansel at the finish, but only added 10 seconds to his lead over the Frenchman.

Ten Brinke's teammates Nasser Al-Attiyah and Giniel de Villiers made up the top six.

Former WRC star Mikko Hirvonen was quickest at the two opening waypoints, and looked in with a chance of giving the all-new X-raid Mini buggy its first stage win.

However, an incident 107km into the route put paid to the Finn's challenge, forcing a lengthy stop for repairs.

With 1012km of timed competition left across the three remaining stages, rally leader Sainz is 50m45s up on Peterhansel as the pair chase the honour of scoring Peugeot's farewell victory

Al-Attiyah remains best of the rest behind the duo, one hour and 14 minutes down on Sainz.

Villagra takes surprise trucks lead

Former WRC ace Federico Villagra overhauled long-time Dakar leader Eduard Nikolaev in the general classification following Wednesday's stage.

Nikolaev had been at the front of the rally from the second day onwards, but now trails the Argentine after surrendering more than 40 minutes in the Belen - Fiambala - Chilecito stage.

MAZ driver Siarhei Viazovich, third in the overall standings, won the stage, his first in the Dakar Rally.

Villagra and Nikolaev are now separated by 16 minutes, with three stages left to run.

Watch video highlights...

Standings after Stage 11 (Car class, top 10):

Pos. Driver / Co-driver Car Time/Gap

 Carlos Sainz

 Lucas Cruz

Peugeot 36h16m27s

 Stephane Peterhansel

 Jean-Paul Cottret

Peugeot +1h00m45s

 Nasser Al-Attiyah

 Mathieu Baumel

Toyota +1h24m02s

 Bernhard ten Brinke

 Michel Perin

Toyota +1h27m35s

 Giniel de Villiers

 Dirk von Zitzewitz

Toyota +1h40m05s

 Jakub Przygonski

 Tom Colsoul

Mini +2h54m18s

 Khalid Al Qassimi

 Xavier Panseri
Peugeot +3h26m19s

 Martin Prokop
Jan Tomanek

Ford +5h53m8s

 Peter van Merksteijn

 Maciej Marton

Toyota +6h31m09s

 Sebastian Halpern

 Edu Pulenta

Toyota +8h41m21s
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About this article
Series Dakar
Event Dakar
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Stéphane Peterhansel , Cyril Despres , Bernhard Ten Brinke
Teams Gazoo Racing
Article type Stage report