Cyril Despres has taken control of the 2018 Dakar Rally on the first marathon day of the event as Peugeot locked out the top two spots.

After the opening day’s ceremonial 19-mile start, the true test began with a 166-mile stage at Pisco in Peru to see Despres lead the Peugeot charge ahead of team-mates Stephane Peterhansel by 48 seconds and Sebastien Loeb by over three minutes on the stage.

The gap will continue to frustrate Loeb having lost over five minutes on the opening day due to brake trouble. It means Loeb is fourth overall with a 6m9s deficit to leader Despres with Peterhansel second overall just 27 seconds back. Giniel de Villiers leads the Toyota charge in third place the overall classification with team-mate and day one leader Nasser Al-Attiyah in fifth.

Orlando Terranova and Mikko Hirvonen hold sixth and seventh place respectively for X-Raid Team with the fourth Peugeot of Carlos Sainz in eighth place.

Defending Dakar champion Sam Sunderland slipped to fourth in the bike classification having led after day one with Joan Barreda Bort taking the lead for Honda with a 2m30s lead on Yamaha’s Adrien van Beveren.



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