After the well-deserved rest for a day, stage 7 in the high Bolivian plains and mountain ranges where the mercury drops below freezing temperatures quite often saw only 44 participants finishing the stage to qualify for stage 8. While any hopes of a Dakar finish have ended for the rest, Peterhansel’s best chance to win the Dakar 2018 melted away in the first marathon stage.
Rain had made the course trickier and Peterhansel, while avoiding a quad stuck in a puddle, almost ended his 2018 race. The Peugeot driver lost 1 hour and 50 minutes fixing his damaged 3008 truck which pushed him into the third position overall, just eight seconds ahead of Giniel De Villers, the Toyota Gazoo Racing driver.
With Peterhansel gone, Carlos Sainz now has an hour and eleven minutes lead over Nasser al-Attiyah after clocking the fastest time for the day. Sainz can now ease off a bit to minimise the probability of any mishaps and still lead the race comfortably. Nasser Al-Attiyah with his wide cross country rallying experience will want to push as hard as possible to cut down as much lead as possible before the 4x4 stages where the Qatari driver holds an edge over the competiton.
The rally has already reached Uyuni from La Paz in this stage and will head towards Tupiza, deeper into Bolivia.