Sebastien Loeb has lost the lead of the 2016 Dakar Rally after rolling his Peugeot and which cost him an hour and effectively rules him out of winning the super endurance event at the first attempt.
In a day which thoroughly tested man and machine, defending Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah claimed Mini's first stage victory, leading from the front and holding off a late charge from Carlos Sainz, father of F1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr, after Loeb crashed badly.
The nine-time WRC champion had been running a bridgeable gap of one minute behind Al-Attiyah before he lost over eight minutes trapped in the dunes between Salta and Belen. However, disaster then struck the French driver when he rolled heavily close to the stage finish and after a 68-minute stoppage limped home to drop from first to eighth in the overall standings.
As a result, Peugeot team-mate Stephane Peterhansel regained the overall lead despite having lost six minutes with a puncture on the first stage of the second week.
Former WRC champion Mikko Hirvonen enjoyed a renaissance at the Dakar after a difficult first week by ending the stage fifth to move up to fourth overall after Loeb's problems. Sainz also moves up a place into second, 2m 9s behind Peterhansel with stage winner Al-Attiyah 14m 43s behind in third.