Stephane Peterhansel’s Dakar hopes grind to halt, Carlos Sainz grabs lead

STEPHANE Peterhansel’s hopes of a 14th Dakar title suffered a potential fatal blow on Saturday when his race-leading Peugeot was hit by a suspension failure which left him stranded for an hour and 45 minutes.

The Frenchman, bidding for a third successive triumph on four wheels, came to a halt after 186km of the run from the Bolivian capital of La Paz to Uyuni.

According to his team, the damage was caused when he hit a stone as he tried to get past a motorcycle competitor.

Teammate Cyril Despres stopped to help his stricken compatriot who was leading the stage at the time of the accident.

When Peterhansel eventually resumed the stage, his other Peugeot teammate Carlos Sainz, the 2010 champion, had sprinted past on his way to taking the day’s honours.