Peterhansel takes Dakar lead after tending to stricken rider

Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:22pm EST
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(Reuters) - Peugeot's Stephane Peterhansel took back the overall Dakar Rally lead from team mate Sebastien Loeb on Thursday after regaining time lost in tending to stricken Slovenian bike rider Simon Marcic when they collided on the 10th stage in Argentina.

Marcic broke a leg in the collision along a riverbed during the 10th stage from Chilecito to San Juan, the longest of the rally after a landslide forced cancellation of Wednesday's section.

The outcome could have been much worse, however, with the rider going under the car.

Peterhansel, the reigning champion and a six-times winner on motorcycles before switching to cars and winning another six times, waited with the KTM rider until the medical helicopter arrived.

"Everybody was completely lost," said the Frenchman, who finished the stage six minutes and 45 seconds behind overnight leader Loeb but was given back 14 minutes and 13 seconds by organizers.

Loeb had initially been declared stage winner.

"The biker was in reverse. When he saw me, he braked, and he crashed and I stopped on him. I saw that his leg was broken but he was still conscious. We stayed for about 15 or 20 minutes with him and waited for the medical helicopter," said Peterhansel.

"Afterwards, it was really complicated to restart, to drive with a good speed. Not an easy day."

Peterhansel now leads Loeb by five minutes, 50 seconds with two stages remaining before the finish in Buenos Aires on Saturday.   Continued...

Dakar Rally - 2017 Paraguay-Bolivia-Argentina Dakar rally - 39th Dakar Edition - Eighth stage from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina 10/01/17. Peugeot's driver Stephane Peterhansel and his co-driver Jean Paul Cottret of France in action.  REUTERS/Franck Fife/Pool