France's Despres takes Dakar Rally lead
08 Jan 2018, 20:13 ( 11 days ago)
Peugeot's French driver Cyril Despres took the overall lead in the Dakar Rally on Sunday by winning the second stage of the off-road endurance event in southern Peru.
Despres finished the 267km stage around the port city of Pisco in two hours 56 minutes 51 seconds, some 48 seconds ahead of his teammate and countryman Stephane Peterhansel.
France's nine-time world rally champion Sebastian Loeb, also driving a Peugeot, recovered from a disastrous start on Saturday to take third place in stage two, 3:08 off the pace.
The result gave Despres the overall lead, 27 seconds ahead of Peterhansel and 5:44 clear of South Africa's Giniel de Villiers in a Toyota.
"That was a great day. It's the first time that our car has been in these conditions," Despres said. "Big, easy to climb dunes as well as very soft plateaus. We saw others stuck in the sand but we avoided that."
Overnight leader Nasser Al-Attiyah finished Sunday's stage almost 15 minutes off the pace in his Toyota after co-driver Matthieu Baumel fell ill.
Another to struggle was Spain's Carlos Sainz, who lost time by being bogged down in the dunes, before crossing the line in sixth place, 13:09 in arrears.
Portuguese football manager Andre Villas-Boas was 44th out of 51 competitors to complete the course, more than three hours behind Despres.
In the motorcycle category, Spain's Joan Barreda took the overall lead with his 20th Dakar stage win.
Barreda clocked 2:56:44 on his Honda, 2:54 ahead of Yamaha rider Adrien Van Beveren of France.