Tupiza - Former champion Carlos Sainz of Spain has been
forced out of the Dakar Rally after his Peugeot was badly damaged in an
accident, his team said on Friday.
Sainz, the 2010 Dakar winner, is the second top auto
competitor to quit the race in South America after former two-time winner
Nasser Al Attiyah of Qatar.
The Spaniard lost control of his vehicle which rolled over
just five kilometres from the finish of Thursday's gruelling fourth stage
between San Salvador de Jujuy in Argentine and Tupiza in Bolivia.
"It appears that the necessary work cannot be carried
out within the time allowed," Peugeot Sport said in a statement.
"I'm obviously very disappointed by this
withdrawal," said Sainz, also a two-time world rally champion in 1990 and
"I regret not being able to challenge."
Sainz had been provisionally third in the standings when
misfortune hit more than seven minutes behind French race leader and Peugeot
teammate Cyril Despres.
The 54-year-old took to the road again after two hours
stranded but finished the special 2hr 19min behind Despres, ending his hopes of
winning the race for a second time.
The 521km fourth stage of the Dakar Rally - dubbed the most
difficult by organisers since the race moved to South America - proved fatal
for several key challengers.
Defending motorcycle champion Toby Price was forced out
after breaking his left leg, joining two-time auto winner Al Attiyah on the
Australian rider Price suffered his race-ending injury when
he tumbled off his KTM motorbike after 371km as the 9,000km race climbed into
the dizzying altitudes of the Andes.
The 29-year-old had to be airlifted off the course, which
hit 3 000 metres above sea level, to hospital.
Earlier in the day, Al Attiyah was also forced to pull out
after his Toyota lost a wheel on Wednesday's third stage, a setback which left
him stranded for over an hour.
Friday's fifth stage is from Tupiza to Oruro in Bolivia with
Despres leading the auto race and Joan Barreda in charge of the moto event.