Peterhansel retains Dakar lead as Sainz takes stage win

Al-Attiyah claws back seconds as rally heads for a rest day

X-Raid Mini JCW team's Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Edouard Boulanger in action during stage six.
X-Raid Mini JCW team's Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Edouard Boulanger in action during stage six.
Image: Reuters

Stephane Peterhansel retained his Dakar Rally lead at the halfway point in Saudi Arabia on Friday after a sixth stage dominated by his Spanish X-Raid Mini team mate and defending champion Carlos Sainz.

Peterhansel finished fourth on the shortened 348km stage from Al Qaisumah to Ha'il.

Closest rival Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar was third in a Gazoo Toyota Hilux, and trimmed Peterhansel's overall lead to five minutes and 53 seconds going into Saturday's rest day.

Sainz clawed back seven and a half minutes from Peterhansel, his second stage win of the event, leaving the 58-year-old triple champion still a hefty 40 minutes adrift in third overall.

Toyota's Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rajhi finished the stage second.

Brian Baragwanath and Taye Perry in the Century buggy were the top-placed SA crew on Friday in sixth, with Giniel de Villiers and his Spanish navigator Alex Bravo in eighth.

The stage was reduced by 100km, with a deferred start, after a significant number of competitors suffered navigational problems on Thursday.

Australian Toby Price took the lead in the motorcycle standings with Spaniard Joan Barreda securing his third stage win of the event.

Two times champion Price, on a KTM, moved two minutes and 16 seconds clear of Honda's Argentine overnight leader Kevin Benavides.

Honda rider Barreda finished 13 seconds clear of Botswana's Ross Branch on a Yamaha with Australian rookie Daniel Sanders third.

Price finished the stage seventh with Benavides, who broke his nose in a fall on Thursday, losing nearly 10 minutes to Barreda.

Defending champion Ricky Brabec of the US was 13th overall.

Saturday is a rest day with the 12-stage rally finishing in Jeddah on January 15.

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