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Peterhansel closes gap to leader Sainz

Peugeot’s driver Stephane Peterhansel and his co-driver Jean Paul Cottret of France compete during Stage 10 of the Dakar 2018 between Salta and Belen, Argentina, on January 16, 2018 © AFP / FRANCK FIFE

BELEN, Argentina, Jan 17Reigning champion Stephane Peterhansel moved up to second overall by winning the 10th special at the Dakar Rally on Tuesday.

The 52-year-old Frenchman — the record 13-time race winner across car and motorbike categories — cut Peugeot team-mate Carlos Sainz’s lead to 50 minutes 35 seconds.

Spaniard Sainz, himself the Dakar winner in 2010, rode a conservative stage as he started with a lead of almost an hour over 2015 champion Nasser Al-Attiyah.

The Qatari Toyota driver faced mechanical problems and lost significant time, dropping to third overall at 1hr 12min 46sec.

In the bike category, Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren’s hopes of victory disappeared after he crashed 3km from the end of the 373km special from Salta to Belen in Argentina.

He was evacuated by helicopter after feeling “groggy”.

He suffered a broken collarbone, alongside chest and back injuries.

It meant Austria’s Matthias Walkner took over the category lead with an 11min 35sec lead over Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla.