Dakar 2017, Stage 7: Peterhansel and Loeb edge clear of rivals

Dakar Rally leader Stephane Peterhansel topped the seventh stage of the race, gaining 48 seconds on teammate and nearest rival Sebastien Loeb.The La Paz – Uyuni test that awaited competitors on Monday was revamped and reduced in length after torrential rain had hit Bolivia and made the original route nonviable.Reigning champion Peterhansel, who was narrowly ahead of Loeb heading into the stage, had been more than a minute up on the nine-time WRC champion at around halfway point – before Loeb clawed back the deficit by the end of the 161km timed section.

Giniel de Villiers

The pair are now split by 1m57s at the head of the race, pulling away from Nani Roma and Cyril Despres, the former disrupting a Peugeot 1-2-3 that had held since Friday.

Toyota driver Roma and Peugeot man Despres, who were both around five minutes off Peterhansel at the start of the stage, ended the day 11 and 14 minutes adrift respectively.

Completing the top three within the stage was Toyota’s Giniel de Villiers, three minutes and a half off Peterhansel, with X-Raid Mini’s Mikko Hirvonen slotting in right behind and maintaining his overall fifth place.

Peugeot privateer Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi was an impressive sixth in the stage, splitting Roma and Despres.

Cars standings after Stage 7:

1 Stephane Peterhansel

 Jean-Paul Cottret

2 Sebastien Loeb

 Daniel Elena

3 Nani Roma

 Alex Haro

4 Cyril Despres

 David Castera

5 Mikko Hirvonen

 Michel Perin

6 Giniel de Villiers

 Dirk von Zitzewitz

7 Orlando Terranova

 Andreas Schulz

8 Kuba Przygonski

 Tom Colsoul

9 Boris Garafulic

 Filipe Palmeiro

10 Romain Dumas

 Alain Guehennec