Peterhansel leads as al-Attiyah completes Dakar stage hat-trick
SA's Henk Lategan in a Toyota Hilux was third on the stage and moved up to fifth overall
Qatar's triple champion Nasser al-Attiyah took his third stage win in a row at the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to chip away at Stephane Peterhansel's overall lead.
The Toyota Hilux driver ended the fourth day of action four minutes and 58 seconds adrift of Peterhansel, the veteran “Mr Dakar” who has won the event a record 13 times on two wheels and four but has yet to take a stage this year.
Despite his speed, al-Attiyah clawed back only 11 seconds from the consistent X-Raid Mini driver who finished second on the 337km stage from Wadi Ad-Dawasir north to the Saudi capital Riyadh.
“We're not marking one another, it's just one relentless attack after another,” said Peterhansel of the battle to stay ahead.
“Apart from a small navigation error near the finish, I don't think I can attack much more.”
Spaniard Carlos Sainz, Peterhansel's teammate and the defending champion, was fifth to climb back to third overall but 36 minutes off the lead.
SA's Henk Lategan in a Toyota Hilux was third on the stage and moved up to fifth overall. His Toyota teammate, former Dakar winner Giniel de Villiers, is 23rd overall after mechanical issues and navigational errors.
Nine-times world rally champion Sebastien Loeb is fourth overall.
Dutch driver Bernhard ten Brinke retired after rolling his Toyota Hilux on Tuesday.
In the motorbike category, France's Xavier de Soultrait took the lead for Husqvarna with Spaniard Joan Barreda 15 seconds behind after winning the stage.
Russian Dmitry Sotnikov, in a Kamaz, took his third stage win in the truck category to extend his lead.