Arequipa - Sebastien
Loeb was forced to pull out of the Dakar Rally after a back injury
suffered by his co-driver in a disastrous fifth stage won by defending
champion Stephane Peterhansel on Wednesday.
As Peterhansel took
another important step towards his 14th Dakar title Loeb's dream of
winning his first Dakar was left in tatters after his car twice ran into
early sand trouble on the run from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipe in
The French ace's hopes of adding a Dakar to his nine world
rally championship crowns at the third attempt had appeared encouraging
after climbing to second in the standings with success on Tuesday's
But instead he was left rebooking his flight home
after his Peugeot became stuck in the dunes twice, with a truck having
to help him out of a sand hole, costing him almost three hours.
it was an injury suffered by co-driver Daniel Elena as they descended a
dune that forced Loeb to bring a premature end to his 2018 Dakar 10
days before the finish in Cordoba, Argentina.
"He screams as soon as I go over 30 km/h, I can't see how we can go on like this", explained Loeb, second last year.
added later: "It went badly, the dunes are too soft, we did not see the
hole, we hit it hard ... It's over, Daniel is bad, but he'll be okay.
It's so soft, without the (assistance) truck, we wouldn't have got out,"
Loeb told France Television.
After his fourth stage win on Tuesday Loeb was placed seven minutes second to Peterhansel in another Peugeot.
'Mr Dakar' has won the car title seven times with a further six titles
on two wheels, the first coming way back in 1991.
saw off the Toyotas of Bernhard ten Brinke and Giniel de Villiers to
lead his Spanish team-mate Carlos Sainz by over half an hour overall.
Third-placed ten Brinke is a massive 1hr 15min adrift.
defection followed on from that earlier Wednesday of Andre Villas-Boas,
the former Chelsea and Tottenham manager who had to pull out with a bad
back, his Toyota team reported.
Honda's Spanish rider Joan Barreda Hort won the motorbike stage with Yamaha's Adrien van Beveren retaining the overall lead.
covered the 264 kilometre timed section in three hours 19 minutes 42
seconds to cross the line over 10mins up on Matthias Walkner on a KTM
and Kevin Benavides (Honda).
France's van Beveren took fifth to hold a slim one minute cushion over Benavides with Walkner 1min 14sec off the pace.