Stephane Peterhansel takes third stage Dakar honours

FRANCE'S Stephane Peterhansel moved into the overall lead in the Dakar Rally after the BMW driver won the third stage in the car category.

Spain's Carlos Sainz, driving a VW, finished nearly six minutes down on Peterhansel on the stage from La Rioja to Fiambala in north central Argentina to stay second overall. Qatari driver Nasser Al- Attiyah slipped from first to third in the general standings after coming home more than ten minutes off the pace in third place.

Frenchman Cyril Despres on a KTM took the overall lead in the motorbike category, winning the stage ahead of Portugal's Helder Rodrigues on a Yamaha and countryman Paulo Goncalves on a BMW. France's David Casteu was fourth on a Sherco and moved into second overall, a place ahead of Rodrigues.

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"I'm not interested in stage victories, I'm more bothered about outright victory in the general standings," said Peterhansel, who has won the Dakar title six times on bikes and three times in cars.

Sainz, a two-time World Rally champion, said he played it safe. "It was difficult today," he said. "We had a few problems due to the engine heating and it's harder to get through in those conditions. We tried to attack but we didn't take any risks.

"When Perterhansel overtook us, we tried to follow but he was going too fast."