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Dakar: WRC legend Loeb heads opening stages

Sebastien Loeb retains his lead in the Dakar Rally as Stephane Peterhansel cuts the deficit to under five minutes after winning stage four.
Sebastien Loeb has retained his lead in the Dakar Rally as Stephane Peterhansel cuts the deficit to less than five minutes after winning the 226-mile Juy Juy stage.

In a day which Peugeot totally dominated, Peterhansel led the rankings thanks to a blistering start by pulling out over a second on Loeb and 2015 Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah for Mini All4 Racing.

Despite Loeb's spirited chase of his fellow countrymen, the pair were split by fellow Peugeot driver Carlos Sainz, father of F1 star Carlos Sainz Jr.

The two-time WRC champion and 2010 Dakar winner ended stage four 11 seconds of Peterhansel, with Loeb completing the Peugeot top three, 27 seconds off the pace. Sainz's improvement enabled him to move up to fifth in the overall standings after losing more than 10 minutes on stage two with engine troubles.

Al-Attiyah was able to break the Peugeot dominance by edging out Cyril Despres for fourth place in the stage as he maintained third place in the overall standings.

As a result, Loeb's overall lead has been slashed to 4m 48s by Peterhansel, with Al-Attiyah in third 11m 09s off the pace of Loeb.

It was frustrating day for Loeb's former WRC rival Mikko Hirvonen as he tumbled down the order after finish 11th on stage four to fall to seventh overall and over 15 minutes off of the leader.


Tagged as: Mikko Hirvonen , Dakar , Sainz

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