Last year's Dakar winner, Nasser Al-Attiyah from Qatar, romped to second overall in this year's rally after winning the third stage (between Pisco and Nazca in Peru), while South Africa's Giniel de Villiers landed 15th place after getting lost, pushing him back from second to sixth in the overall rankings.
Al-Attiyah took a brave approach to the stage, as he later explained: “The sand was very soft today and I decided not to go flat out because the car's very new and we still don't know how far it can go. No problems so far.”
American Robby Gordon brought his Hummer home in second place, over a minute behind the leader, while Mini driver Stepahane Peterhansel followed in third place but retains an overall race lead of 6m33.
Peterhansel's lead was reinstated on Monday after it was found that a technical fault with a satellite had caused the ten-time Dakar champion to take the wrong route on Sunday.
Another strong contender, Carlos Sainz, dropped to fifth overall in the stage after suffering with a misfiring car.
As mentioned, it was not a good day for Giniel de Villiers, the Hilux driver losing more than 20 minutes due to navigation problems yet he's far from despondent. “But the race is still long - 12 days to go,” he tweeted.
On the South African front, De Villiers' team-mate Duncan Vos landed in 48th position, while Johan van Staden finished 141st in his Enduro MC4-RS.
Sources: AFP, Twitter & Dakar.com
RESULTS - STAGE 3
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Buggy) 2h30m14
2. Robby Gordon (Hummer) +1m18
3. Stephane Peterhansel (Mini) +3:52
4. Lucio Alvarez (Toyota) +9:36
5. Nani Roma (Mini) +12:20
6. Leonid Novitskiy (Mini) +15:29
7. Guerlain Chicherit (SMG) +16:15
8. Boris Gadasin (G-Force Proto) +23:25
9. Christian Lavieille (Dessoude) +24:45
10. Bernard Errandonea (SMG) +25:09
Giniel de Villiers tackles the third stage.
1. Stephane Peterhansel (Mini) 5h34m26
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Buggy) +6m33
3. Lucio Alvarez (Toyota) +18:11
4. Leonid Novitskiy (Mini) +21:10
5. Carlos Sainz (Buggy) +21:16
6. Giniel De Villiers (Toyota) +30:22
7. Nani Roma (Mini) +32:56
8. Orlando Terranova (BMW) +35:13
9. Bernard Errandonea (SMG) +38:32
10. Ronan Chabot (SMG) +39:40
See the stage 3 summary on video below: