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Dakar 2011: Peterhansel benefits from VW’s mistakes

Stephane Peterhansel closed into Carlos Sainz’s overall lead after taking his first stage victory of the 2011 Dakar Rally. The BMW driver took advantage of navigational mistakes by Sainz and Nasser Al-Attiyah to lead over a long stretch of dunes in the 459km stage in Chile.

He lead for nearly four minutes at its peak, though Al-Attiyah managed to work back down to 1m24s by the leg’s end when Peterhansel stoped to fix a puncture.

“It was a stage with lots of surprises,” Peterhansel said. “We started with the bit between our teeth. We managed to overtake Al-Attiyah and Sainz by taking advantage of a navigation error they made. After that, it was our turn to make a mistake and get a flat tyre. At the finish, we put in a good time – it could have been better, though. At one point, I had regained four minutes on Carlos. In the end, our performance was okay. The first three places in the general standings are separated by three minutes. That’s good. I hope it stays like that until the rest day, that way we’ll have a thrilling end to the race. Everything is still possible for us.”

Sainz ended three minutes behind Peterhansel in third, with his overall lead reduced to just two and a half minutes, and Peterhansel now seven seconds ahead of Al-Attiyah in second.

“This leg was extremely tough,” said Sainz. “It was difficult in terms of navigation, physically strenuous and rough on the material too. At the beginning of the special stage the roadbook wasn’t accurate enough at one particular location. Being the first car out we got lost there and Stephane Peterhansel overtook us. In the last dune belt we lost some more time because we caught a motorcycle rider on a dune crest and reduced our speed a bit too much. Unfortunately, we got stuck there. But, on the whole, it was a good day for us.”

Stage five results:

Pos Driver                   Car            Time/Gap
1. Stephane Peterhansel     BMW           +4h33m19s
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah        Volkswagen       +1m24s
3. Carlos Sainz             Volkswagen       +3m15s
4. Giniel de Villiers       Volkswagen       +5m21s
5. Mark Miller              Volkswagen      +20m42s
6. Krzysztof Holowczyc      BMW             +23m23s
7. Orlando Terranova        BMW             +29m03s
8. Guilherme Spinelli       Mitsubishi      +37m04s
9. Nani Roma                Nissan          +39m22s
10. Guerlain Chicherit       Mini            +52m53s

Overall standings:
1. Carlos Sainz             Volkswagen    15h45m48s
2. Stephane Peterhansel     BMW              +2m26s
3. Nasser Al-Attiyah        Volkswagen       +2m33s
4. Giniel de Villiers       Volkswagen      +21m20s
5. Krzysztof Holowczyc      BMW             +47m53s
6. Orlando Terranova        BMW             +58m59s
7. Mark Miller              Volkswagen    +1h26m03s
8. Guilherme Spinelli       Mitsubishi    +1h33m34s
9. Nani Roma                Nissan        +1h44m39s
10. Christian Lavieille      Nissan        +2h14m24s

Pos Driver                   Car            Time/Gap

About faisal

Faisal Asri has been involved in Automotive Companies and Motorsports his entire professional life. Currently attached to Honda Malaysia as a Product Planner, he also has driven for Honda Malaysia Racing Team in Merdeka Millennium (MME)12 Hr Race 2008. Previous claim to fame with R3 include doing the donkey work getting cars such as the Satria R3, Savvy Zerokit, Waja & GEN.2 MME from prototype to production ready. Together with Adian, Faisal also successfully ran the Street Shoot Out Challenge, introducing a more exciting Time Attack format to the Malaysian Grassroot fraternity. On top of that, he was involved trackside coordinating Proton-R3's Lotus to 2 successive victories in MME. Faisal moonlights as a Driving Instructor in many Track/Advance Driving events and freelances as a R/C Drift Judge when the opportunity arises. Can usually be seen in SIC driving cars as how the were meant to be, HARD.
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