Former champ Peterhansel leads Dakar rally

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Defending champion, Stephane Peterhansel of France, is the overall leader of the Dakar Rally after stage three of the event, becoming the third driver in three days to hit the front.

Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah won the stage in Southern Peru – his second stage win to move from fifth to third overall.

South Africa’s Giniel De Villiers has dropped from third to fifth overall after finishing the stage in sixth place.

Al-Attiyah, who also won Saturday’s opening stage in his Toyota, moved up from fifth overall to third, 7 minutes 43 seconds off the lead after winning the stage.

Peterhansel, driving a Peugeot and chasing a record 14th Dakar title, was second fastest on the 296 kilometer timed stage from Pisco to the port of San Juan de Marcona.

The Frenchman now leads team mate and compatriot Cyril Despres, the overnight leader on Sunday, by three minutes and 11 seconds.

Nine-times world rally champion Sebastian Loeb, also in a Peugeot, dropped to fourth after finishing more than eight and a half minutes behind the Qatari.

South Africa’s Giniel De Villiers finished the stage in sixth position to drop from third to fifth overall – 11 minutes 23 seconds off the lead.

It was a bad day for Spanish driver Nani Roma who rolled his Mini near the finish and suffered head and neck injuries.

Roma finished the stage, with co-driver Alex Haro largely unhurt, but was flown by helicopter to a nearby airport for medical checks in Lima.

Britain’s Sam Sunderland went back to the top of the motorcycle standings after Honda’s overnight leader Joan Barreda lost his way and dropped almost 28 minutes.

Sunderland won the stage, his second victory for KTM in three days, to lead Honda’s Argentine rider Kevin Benavides by four minutes and 38 seconds.