Sainz grabs Dakar lead

Dakar Rally 2018 Stage 8

Sainz himself felt it was a hard day in Bolivia, particularly when off-piste driving was required, but he says the whole rally is all about keeping focus and surviving, particularly after the troubles the other three Peugeot drivers - Peterhansel, Cyril Despres and Sebastien Loeb - have endured in the opening seven stages.

Both Mena and Santosh tackled the stage with a steady head and arrived at the Uyuni bivouac safely, though deprived of any assistance from the team for the overnight halt as per the regulations of the marathon stage.

Santosh also had a good day, finishing Saturday's stage at 39th position and an overall ranking of 40 at the end of stage 7 with a timing of 28 hours, nine minutes and 41 seconds.

Adrian van Beveren, second home, regained the overall lead by three minutes over former leader Kevin Benavides, who was third on the stage.

With van Beveren taking second place on the gruelling seventh stage he has reclaimed the overall classification lead from Barreda Bort's team-mate Kevin Benavides and now holds a slender 3m14s advantage of the Argentine, with the stage victor up to third despite his injury.

Carlos Sainz Sr. secured a second consecutive stage victory on Saturday to take over the overall lead of the Dakar Rally, but the veteran Spaniard is taking nothing for granted in the remaining seven days. By the time the French rally great repaired the left rear wheel, suspension and radiator in his Peugeot, he was 1 hour, 45 minutes behind Sainz, who was almost at the finish.

As a result, Sainz now holds a huge advantage over nearest challenger Toyota's Nasser Al-Attiyah who has been promoted into second place but trails the leader by 1hr 11m29s.

Sunday's special stage is the longest of the rally, a 498km timed section from Uyuni to Tupiza that includes high-altitude sand dunes at 3,500 metres.

Peterhansel, who had been 27 minutes ahead of Sainz after leading the rally from Peru into Bolivia, hit trouble while trying to overtake a bike at the 186km mark and came to a halt.

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