Sebastien Loeb has clinched victory on stage four of the 2018 Dakar Rally to chip away at Stephane Peterhansel's lead as Peugeot profits from its rival's issues to take a 1-2-3 in the standings, while defending bike champion Sam Sunderland retires from the event. He lost two hours waiting for assistance before continuing but, with co-driver Daniel Elena in pain from the jolt in the dunes, had to accept defeat.
In the auto category, Team Peugeot Total's Stephane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret increased their gap at the top by winning the fifth stage.
Briton Sunderland (Red Bull KTM), the defending champion, came back from a rough race on Sunday to finish first in the motorbike category for the second time in three stages and take a lead of almost five minutes over Argentina's Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda). "We got stuck once and managed to get going again". They lead second-placed Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz, also from Peugeot Total, by 31 minutes and 16 seconds.
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Dutch driver Bernhard ten Brinke of Toyota finished the stage 4:52 behind Peterhansel. Walkner finished second in stage 5 while Benavides finished third.
De Villiers posted the third-fastest time on the stage, about five minutes ahead of Sainz, despite suffering a puncture mid-stage.
After getting back into contention yesterday, disaster struck for Nasser Al-Attiyah who lost more than 30 minutes to the leaders.
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Joan Barreda Bort moved up from 14th fourth overall with a masterful ride on Stage 5.
Reigning bikes champion Sunderland dropped out of this year s race with a back injury and was taken to Lima for medical checks, allowing Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren to take the overall lead after winning Tuesday s fourth stage.
The fourth stage of the rally camped itself in San Juan De Marcona for one more day of dunes and navigation.
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Willem du Toit (KTM) posted his worst stage result yet on the Dakar, finishing 78th - but still moved up two places to 66th overall, while Gerry van der Byl posted his best finish yet in 112th, and moved up eight places to 111th.