Dakar Rally legend Stephane Peterhansel has taken over the lead of the 2017 event despite his Peugeot team-mate Sebastien Loeb taking his second stage win of the rally.
The timed section of Friday’s running was virtually cut in half due to adverse weather conditions, with the organisers moving the finish line to the neutralised zone, and Loeb was fastest throughout the day.
Loeb won the stage in a time of 2 hours 24 minutes and 3 seconds, just ahead of Toyota’s Nani Roma, while Peterhansel was third fastest, with the time he gained on team-mate Cyril Despres enough to see him take over the lead of the rally, with Loeb moving into second and overnight leader Despres down to third.
Just 4 minutes and 54 seconds separate the leading trio of Peugeot drivers, while Roma sits fourth, a further 41 seconds behind, with Mikko Hirvonen, the leading X-Raid Mini racer, lost more than half an hour due to navigation issues to drop down to fifth.
Romain Dumas, fresh off the back of a winning the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship with Porsche, finished the day with the fifth fastest time to move into the top ten in the overall standings.
Navigation issues were not just consigned to the car racers, with many of the bike riders also having issues, with Sam Sunderland taking over the lead of the rally on his KTM as overnight leader Pablo Quintanilla and third placed Stefan Svitko both following Joan Barreda in making a wrong turn and losing a significant amount of time.
Sunderland avoided making the same mistake to take a 12-minute advantage away from the day ahead of Husqvarna’s Quintanilla, while Adrian van Beveren sits third, 16 minutes and 7 seconds behind, who finished the stage in second behind Sunderland but 7 minutes and 19 seconds behind.
Thursday’s stage winner Matthias Walkner was on course to enjoy another good day but veered from the route late on to lose time to drop from second to fifth, 29 minutes and 1 second behind team-mate Sunderland, Quintanilla, van Beveren and Gerard Farres.
In the Truck classification, Gerard De Rooy became the fifth different leader in as many days as he dominated the stage, with the Iveco racer overhauling overnight leader Dmitry Sotnikov to head the rally.
De Rooy set a time of 2 hours 39 minutes and 12 seconds to take the stage win, with Sotnikov losing more than 20 minutes to drop to third behind fellow Russian Eduard Nikolaev. Federico Villagra, who sat overnight in second place, fell to sixth after losing more than 50 minutes to the stage winner.