- The Frenchman moves into second place overall
- Problems for Carlos Sainz
Stéphane Peterhansel and David Castera (both FRA) climbed into second place in the overall standings, thanks to their second place on today’s stage in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy. Spaniards Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz bounced back from yesterday’s misfortune with a fine seventh place. Their team-mates Cyril Despres and Jean-Paul Cottret (both FRA) finished eighth. Stage four of this year’s Dakar takes the competitors from Arequipa to Tacna, where the second half of this marathon stage awaits them, and the crews must survive the evening without their team.
Peterhansel and Castera were the first of the cars onto today’s route and were embroiled in a battle with Nasser Al-Attiyah for the stage win. The two Frenchmen finished second and are also second in the overall standings. “Today was just the first part of the marathon stage, so we had to look after the car. David and I are not really good mechanics, so we had to be a little more cautious,” admitted Peterhansel. “The route itself was totally different to the previous days. There was a big valley and lots of fesh-fesh. We were pleased to start so early, as I am sure the route will have been destroyed completely later on.”
Sainz and Cruz endured a tough day yesterday. After their crash, they had to wait for the race truck and only reached the finish shortly after 17:00. They eventually arrived at the bivouac at around midnight. The team spent the entire night repairing the car and ensuring that Sainz was able to start the next stage bang on time. He ended the stage in seventh place. “Unfortunately, the air conditioning was not working and I had the small window open. However, I spent the entire day driving through other cars’ dust. It was not a pleasant day,” said the Spaniard.
It was an eventful stage for Despres and Cottret, who again showed their readiness to help. “Our day was not an easy one,” said Cyril. “One of our rear tires lost air, which did not make it easy to drive on. Later, we were on a parallel route and a motorcyclist had crashed behind a dune. We almost hit her. We obviously wanted to help, but were also afraid that other competitors may come over the dune. We did help her and lost a few minutes in the process. We then had two punctures within a few kilometers.”
The drivers have a long day ahead of them tomorrow, before they rejoin their teams. In total, they must cover 714 kilometers, 450 of which are against the clock.