Qatar’s triple champion Nasser Al-Attiyah took his third stage win in a row at the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia to chip away at Stephane Peterhansel’s overall lead.
The Toyota driver ended the fourth day of action four minutes and 58 seconds adrift of Peterhansel, the veteran ‘Mr Dakar’ who has won the event a record 13 times on two wheels and four but has yet to take a stage this year.
Despite his speed, Al-Attiyah clawed back only 11 seconds from the consistent X-Raid Mini driver who finished second on the 337km stage from Wadi Ad-Dawasir north to the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Spaniard Carlos Sainz, Peterhansel’s Mini team mate and the defending champion, climbed back to third overall but 36 minutes off the lead.
Nine-times world rally champion Sebastien Loeb was fourth, another 12 minutes behind.
In the motorbike category, France’s Xavier de Soultrait took the lead for Husqvarna with Spaniard Joan Barreda 15 seconds behind after winning the stage.
Russian Dmitry Sotnikov, in a Kamaz, took his third stage win in the truck category to extend his lead.