Science

Loeb out, Toyotas fight back as Dakar takes its toll

Loeb out, Toyotas fight back as Dakar takes its toll

British motorcyclist Sam Sunderland abandoned his Dakar Rally title defense Tuesday due to back pain, and Portuguese football coach Andre Villas-Boas was taken to a hospital after his vehicle crashed against a sand dune.

Sunderland, riding for dominant team KTM and leading the overall rankings coming into the stage in San Juan de Marcona, withdrew after injuring his back while entering a jump according to the rally organizers.

The Yamaha rider takes the lead in the overall standings, 1 minute 55 seconds ahead of Chilean Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna).

His five-minute penalty from Stage 3 overturned, Price and Walkner were among a gaggle of riders within five minutes of the lead at the final waypoint, but the Australian would lose a further seven minutes before reaching the finish.

It was a tough day for Al-Attiyah; the current Cross-Country World Cup title holder started the day on a charge, and quickly made up some time over the leaders, only to be slowed by a gearbox problem.

Wessel Bosman was the last of 114 surviving motorcycle competitors to finish Stage 5, and was also last in the overall standngs.

Xavier De Soultrait rides along the beach during Stage 4. I tried to push myself hard and did all I could and so I managed to cross a lot of riders. When we arrived in the dunes, I had the opportunity to come back.




With the WRC legend ruled out, his Peugeot teammates Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz were left standing as the two frontrunners in the auto class, and it was the former who bolstered his chances with a strong time through Wednesday's test.

That brought the Hiluxes back up to third, fourth and fifth overall behind the Peugeots of Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz, with Ten Brinke ahead of Al Attiyah and De Villiers; the three South African-built bakkies were split by just 23 minutes, making for an interesting race between them going forward.

Cyril Despres, the five-time champion on a bike who was lying second in a auto, had a broken rear wheel after hitting a rock at about 180 kilometers, and his rally appeared over.

Toyota endured a hellish fourth stage with two-time Dakar victor Nasser Al-Attiyah and team-mate Giniel de Villiers both stopping on the course for separate issues and lost a huge chunk of time.

The Qatari driver stopped his Hilux twice on the stage, eventually losing a total of 54 minutes to Loeb.

Peugeot driver Stephane Peterhansel during Stage 4.


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