Loeb wins Dakar Stage 4, more trouble for Al-Attiyah

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The nine-time WRC champion, first on the road after recording his 10th Dakar stage win on Tuesday, came to a halt just five kilometres into the 266km timed test between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa.

Nasser Al-Attiyah, had a bummer of a day with his Gazoo Toyota getting stuck in the dunes twice making him lose nearly an hour in terms of overall standings. We were following Al-Attiyah and saw him go over, so we did the same, but I hadn't realised there was a hole behind the crest. "We are doing a good job at the moment though".

Peterhansel, Loeb's team-mate who had been almost seven minutes clear on Tuesday and heading for a record 14th Dakar win, took the stage to extend his lead over Carlos Sainz to 31 minutes and 16 seconds.

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With the WRC legend ruled out, his Peugeot teammates Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz were left standing as the two frontrunners in the auto class, and it was the former who bolstered his chances with a strong time through Wednesday's test.

Ten Brinke not only recorded a perfectly clean stage, but also kept pace with the leading Peugeot of Stephane Peterhansel over terrain that was much more suited to the buggy.

Sainz, having got stuck in the dunes early on, was 18 minutes down at the finish line, and now trails Peterhansel by over half an hour in the general classification.

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"We thought by starting in a group it would be like a nice day out riding with your friends but as soon as we got to the dunes, the going got really tough". We lost pressure in one of the tires.

The rally's new overall leader is Frenchman Adrian van Beveren, who won the stage.

After getting back into contention yesterday, disaster struck for Nasser Al-Attiyah who lost more than 30 minutes to the leaders. The Indian rider gained 40 positions on his overnight ranking of 98 and completed the day in 56th place (stage and overall). The trucks and the cars, therefore, were the first to discover the stage, even before their riders, as they made their way through the sands of Tanaka, traversing through 30km or so of mountain dunes.

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