Loeb withdraws from Dakar Rally
As a result of clocking stage 4’s fastest time Loeb was handed the job of driving the first car onto the latest stage which featured the soft sands of Tanaka. The pitfalls of the desert rendered Loeb’s Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi unmovable and when his co-driver fell ill then the decision was made to call it a day. “We got to a place where there was another competitor stopped on a crest: in order not to have to stop while we were climbing I went right to avoid him…but there was a hole just over the crest that we hadn’t seen. We hit it hard. There was nothing more we could do but wait for the truck to pull us out. Daniel was in a lot of pain from the impact. We even finished the stage really slowly, in order not to make the pain worse. Given Daniel’s injury, we were left with no option but to retire,” said a disappointed Loeb.
Better news for Team Peugeot came from multiple winners Stéphane Peterhansel who increased his overall lead in the car category. The Frenchmsn used all his experience to come through one of the toughest stages of this year’s Dakar unscathed. “We didn’t have any problems, but it was extremely tricky. These dunes were the most difficult ones since the start of the rally,” commented Peterhansel.
Other big winners in the car race were Bernhard Ten Brinke who bagged the second fastest time on the stage to move into third overall. The two other Peugeot crews of Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres were unable to keep pace with the race leaders but arrived back in the Arequipa bivouac after a solid day of driving. Sainz is second overall, 31m16s behind Peterhansel.
It was another frustrating day for the Toyota crews of Giniel de Villiers and Nasser Al-Attiyah. Although de Villiers and Al-Attiyah clocked the third and fifth fastest times on the stage they were unable to close the gap between themselves and Peterhansel at the front of the race. Al-Attiyah is fourth overall, 01h23m21s behind Peterhansel while De Villiers is fifth overall and a further 11 minutes back.