Luc Alphand has seen his hopes of a strong result on the 2009 running of the Dakar Rally take a hit after losing more than 30 minutes during Monday's third stage.

The Mitsubishi man went into the stage lying in sixth place at the wheel of his new Racing Lancer but then ran into problems early on in the run from Puerto Madryn to Jacobacci; the longest stage of the event so far at 551 competitive kilometres.

A fuel leak on the car forced Alphand to stop in the stage and more than half an hour was lost as the Frenchman looked to solve the problem.

As a result, he trailed in 15th in the stage and has now dropped down to tenth place, 38 minutes and 47 seconds behind leader Carlos Sainz.

"We had a fuel leak and had to stop and take everything out from the rear to see where the problem was," he reflected. "Everything else was fine today, but a fuel seal was not working and it cost me over 30 minutes trying to sort it all out. That was very frustrating."

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