Peterhansel retains Dakar lead as Sainz takes stage win


FILE PHOTO: Rallying - Dakar Rally - Stage 2 - Bisha to Wadi ad-Dawasir - Bisha, Saudi Arabia - January 4, 2021 Red Bull KTM Factory Team's Toby Price in action during stage 2 REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

(Reuters) - Stephane Peterhansel retained his Dakar Rally lead at the halfway point in Saudi Arabia on Friday after a sixth stage dominated by his Spanish X-Raid Mini team mate and defending champion Carlos Sainz.

The Frenchman, a 13 times winner on two wheels and four, finished fourth on the shortened 348km stage from Al Qaisumah to Ha'il.

Closest rival Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar was third and trimmed Peterhansel's overall lead to five minutes and 53 seconds going into Saturday's rest day.

Sainz clawed back seven and a half minutes from Peterhansel, his second stage win of the event leaving the 58-year-old triple champion still a hefty 40 minutes adrift in third overall.

Toyota's Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rajhi finished the stage second.

The stage was reduced by 100km, with a deferred start, after a significant number of competitors suffered navigational problems on Thursday.

Australian Toby Price took the lead in the motorcycle standings with Spaniard Joan Barreda securing his third stage win of the event.

Two times champion Price, on a KTM, moved two minutes and 16 seconds clear of Honda's Argentine overnight leader Kevin Benavides.

Honda rider Barreda finished 13 seconds clear of Botswana's Ross Branch on a Yamaha with Australian rookie Daniel Sanders third.

Price finished the stage seventh with Benavides, who broke his nose in a fall on Thursday, losing nearly 10 minutes to Barreda.

Defending champion Ricky Brabec of the United States was 13th overall.

Saturday is a rest day with the 12-stage rally finishing in Jeddah on Jan. 15.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)

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