Loeb holds off Peterhansel on Dakar Rally 4th stage
HA’IL, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Sebastien Loeb lost his power steering and struggled home after more than four hours to win the Dakar Rally fourth stage by 13 seconds on Wednesday.
Loeb trailed French countryman Stephane Peterhansel for much of the 425-kilometer loop course around Ha’il in northwest Saudi Arabia. He went in front after about 300 kilometers but 20 kilometers from the end his power steering failed.
“I couldn’t keep the car on the tracks,” Loeb said. “We span out at one point because I couldn’t turn the steering wheel. It was very difficult to finish the stage, but at the end we still have the best time, so it’s better than nothing.”
Loeb has been beset by numerous punctures. Defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah overcame one to place only seconds after Carlos Sainz in fourth.
By finishing only two minutes behind Loeb, Al-Attiyah limited the gains by his chief rivals. Peterhansel was nearly 19 minutes back in third overall, Sainz was 33 minutes behind, and Loeb 1 1/2 hours.
Yazeed Al Rajhi finished the stage five minutes behind Al-Attiyah and was 18 minutes back in second overall.
“We’ve made no mistakes at all and Mathieu (Baumel, co-driver) navigated well. We are quite happy,” Al-Attiyah said.
The motorbikes had a similar close finish, as Joan Barreda beat home Pablo Quintanilla by 16 seconds after 4 1/2 hours in the dunes. Barreda earned his 30th career stage win.
Skyler Howes was third, a minute back after racking up bonus time from opening the way with race leader Daniel Sanders and Mason Klein. Overall, Howes was 3 1/2 minutes behind Sanders, followed by Kevin Benavides.
Klein was pushing throughout for a second stage win until a fuel intake problem stopped him 45 kilometers from the finish for more than 10 minutes.
He was happy to finish, unlike Joaquim Rodrigues of Portugal and Harith Noah of India, who both suffered falls and were flown to hospital.
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