Peterhansel wins stage four, al-Attiyah third overall
January 06 2016 11:21 PM
Peugeot driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean Paul Cottret compete during the fourth stage of the Dakar 2016 around Jujuy, in Argentina, yesterday. Picture on right, Paulo Goncalves was handed the win in Stage 4 after Joan Barreda Bort (left) was docked five minutes for speeding for the second day running. (Reuters)

AFP/Jujuy, Argentina

Stephane Peterhansel kept afloat his bid for a 12th Dakar Rally crown when leading a Peugeot clean sweep in yesterday’s fourth stage around Jujuy in Argentina.
The marathon event’s all-time most successful competitor held off teammates Carlos Sainz and Sebastien Loeb by 11sec and 27sec at the end of the 429 kilometre stage.
This was the veteran Frenchman’s 66th stage win, a record tally split equally between cars and bikes.
The 50-year-old from Alsace made his Dakar debut in 1988, winning the first of his six overall victories on two wheels back in 1991 and taking his 11th victory behind the wheel of a Mini in 2013.
“It’s the first Dakar special I win for Peugeot, it’s nice,” said Peterhansel.
“We worked hard all year, but aren’t too proud yet because we know we weren’t able to carry out all the tests we wanted, and it’s just the third day of racing.
“We had a good special, with no navigational mistakes and a high pace from the beginning. Our work is paying off.”
World rally legend Loeb, with two stage wins in the bag already on his promising Dakar debut, remained atop the overall standings with Peterhansel in second at 4min 48sec.
Defending Dakar champion, Qatar’s Nasser al-Attiyah (Mini) is third at 11min 9sec.
Al-Attiyah, who won bronze in the men’s skeet shooting event at the London 2012 Olympics, reflected after his fourth place: “It ain’t easy.  
“I did my best to attack, but you just can’t keep up with the Peugeots.”
Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort won the motorcycling section only to be deprived of success for speeding for the second day running.
Barreda crossed the line clear of his Portuguese teammate Paulo Goncalves only to be docked five minutes and demoted to fourth.
Goncalves was handed the win ahead of his Portuguese compatriot Ruben Faria (Husqvarna) with Argentina’s Kevin Benavides in third.
“It was a good day, bringing the bike home in one piece was crucial. I’m happy for me and Honda,” said Goncalves.
He tops the overall times, 2min 17sec clear of Benavides, with Barreda now third, at 3min 3sec. Today’s fifth stage of the marathon two-week rally is a 327 kilometre ride from Jujuy to Uyuni with the crossing into Bolivia coming with a steep increase in altitude to 4,500 metres - the highest point in this route.

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