Article

Peterhansel closes on Dakar title

19 January 2013 02:09

Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel is set to win the Dakar Rally for the 11th time on Saturday.

Peterhansel has won the famous race on a motorcycle six times, with his four additional titles coming on four wheels.

And he is set to extend that to five with a whopping 44-minute, 38-second lead ahead of the second-placed Giniel De Villiers heading into the final stage of the race.

The final day of racing is a short 128km ride into Santiago and with a potential banana skin out of the way – Friday's 441km stage, the longest of the two-week event – Peterhansel was pleased, despite losing some ground due to a careful strategy.

"We had to get through this stage without any problems, so there was a lot of stress in the car, first when we were crossing the first dunes," Peterhansel said after the day's proceedings.

"We didn't take any risks at all and we only lost a few minutes, but we managed to protect our lead this way. We know how it goes... something could still happen right up until you cross the finishing line.

"Even if it's a small special (on Saturday), we still have to get it over and done with."

The penultimate stage of the race on four wheels was won by American Robby Gordon, who finished in three hours, 40 minutes and 53 seconds.

Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit was 22 seconds adrift in second.

The motorcycle division is also likely to be won by a competitor from France with Cyril Despres leading by more than eight minutes.

Despres – who has won the motorcycle section of the event on four occasions – leads Chile's Francisco Lopez.

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