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Friday’s 218km Dakar stage between Calama in Chile and Salta in Argentina was won by race leader Stephane Peterhansel (Mini), who extended his lead over the Red Bull Buggy of Nasser Al-Attiyah to 3 min 14 sec.
Guerlain Chicherit managed second place in his SMG Buggy, while third and fourth went to Robby Gordon (Hummer) and Orlando Terranova (BMW).
South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers came home in fifth position, which was enough to maintain his third spot in the overall race, although he’s still just over 44 minutes behind the leader.
Nonetheless, De Villiers described it as a trouble-free day: “We got through the special stage well today and conceded a surprisingly small amount of time to the diesel cars. They have a physical advantage at that kind of altitude (up to 4900 metres).
“The second part of the stage was narrow and winding – rather like stages in the World Rally Championship. Just one tough stage on Saturday and we’ll be having a very welcome rest day on Sunday.”
In the bike race American Kurt Caselli won the stage while Oliver Pain extended his lead over Cyril Despres, who lost ground on the mountainous stage.
On the South African front, Riaan van Niekerk came 12th and fellow KTM rider Darryl Curtis came home 22nd. In the overall rankings, Van Niekerk now sits in 16th spot and Curtis in 20th. Brett Cummings finished 37th on his Honda while SA’s sole quad competitor Sarel van Biljon did us proud by achieving third place on the stage, bringing him up to fourth overall. -IOL Motoring Staff
STAGE 7 RESULTS
1. Stephane Peterhansel (Mini) 1h47m27
2. Guerlain Chicherit (SMG) +39s
3. Robby Gordon (Hummer) +1:08
4. Orlando Terranova (BMW) +1:11
5. Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) +1:32
6. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Buggy) +1:56
7. Erick Wevers (ForD) +3:45
8. Leonid Novitskiy (Mini) +4:07
9. Carlos Sousa (gwm) +4:34
10. Lucio Alvarez (Toyota) +6:24
1. Stephane Peterhansel (Mini) 16h23m43
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Buggy) +3m14
3. Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) +44:03
4. Leonid Novitskiy (Mini) +48:54
5. Guerlain Chicherit (SMG) +1h17:05
6. Ronan Chabot (SMG) +1h34:51
7. Nani Roma (Mini) +1h38:27
8. Bernard Errandonea (SMG) +2h02:17
9. Orlando Terranova (BMW) +2h06:38
10. Carlos Sousa (GWM) +2h07:29