At the end of Stage 7, which was a loop around San Juan De Marcona, Stephen Peterhansel emerged victorious with his second stage win for the season. The 13-time Dakar winner finished the 387km loop with a time of 4:00:01 seconds. The stage win helped the Frenchman regain his second spot in the overall standing.
X-Raid driver Nani Roma finished second, just 4 minutes and 33 seconds adrift the stage winner. Despite having no stage win so far this season, Nani’s consistent performance could help him with a podium finish, at the least. He is running third in the general classification at the moment. Defending champion Carlos Sainz – even after helping his teammates along the way – managed to finish third in the seventh stage just 9 minutes and 28 seconds behind the winner.
On the other hand, dune-specialist Nasser Al-Attiyah proved that this was indeed an incredibly testing stage. The Kuwaiti dropped 11 minutes and 58 seconds behind Peterhansel finishing fourth in Stage 7. The Toyota driver still has a sizable lead in the overall championship with almost half an hour advantage on the leaderboard. And five-time bike champion, Cyril Despres, crossed the finish line in the fifth position in Stage 7 maintaining his fifth position in the overall standing.
Major setback hit Sebastien Loeb 50 km into the stage. The Peugeot privateer suffered an electrical failure and lost over half an hour in the dunes. However, the WRC champion managed to resume his pace after fixing the problem and finished the stage at 11th position. But Loeb dropped down in the championship standing and is now running sixth overall.
In car no.303, Jakub Przygonski was let down by gearbox failure in the previous stage. He was stranded for more than an hour and a half fixing the vehicle mid-way into Stage 7 and only managed to finish 14th; thus losing two positions in the overall standing to sixth.
One sight to behold after Stage 7 was Nasser Al-Attiyah’s rear wheel (pictured here) after he managed to finish the last stretch of the stage with a puncture. It goes on to show how much beating the vehicles take in the world’s most gruesome motorsport event.