What back on track Dakar really needs

DAKAR 2017 STAGE 10 LIVE - Thursday 12  January: Chilecito-San Juan
Bikes start 12h55 SA time; cars 14h55
Today's stage: 751km, Special: 449km. Altitude 150-2600m
Come back here to follow the action as it unfolds today

23h50 - cars - Stephane Peterhansel's time was corrected 14:13 in lieu of the time he was stopped to assist motorcycle racer Marcic after the two collided and the Slovenian suffered a broken leg. Peterhansel went on to finished the stage 6:45 behind Sebastien Loeb, but the time credit now sees Peterhansel credited with the stage win to now lead Loeb by 5:50 with two days and 306 timed kilometres to go.

21h20 - cars - Giniel de Villiers is home, but the Toyota star dropped two minutes late in the stage following a left rear puncture, but Giniel presed on to finish, forsaking the advantage he had built up on the pursuing Terranove through second half of the day the day. With Roma still out there, de Villiers is likely to stay fifth, only 2:27 clear of Terranova's Mini overall!

20h45 - cars - Loeb provisionally wins the stage from Despres 2:28 behind with 'Peter 'third, 6:45 off the nine-time world rally champion, but will that gap change if and when Peterhansel is credited time for assisting that biker - and how much time will he get back? Both the stage and overall race lead now depend on this official call...

20h43 - cars - Giniel de Villiers is revelling in the thick air of lower altitudes for the first time in a week as his Hilux V8 starts to breathe again - he's edging closer to the Peugeots albeit 10 minutes adrift and closing down on Terranova , as he edges away from the Argentinian oveall...

20h40 - cars - Sebastien Loeb has swept into the lead from Despres as the cars race to the finish. But will that be enough to hold Peterhansel off should Mr. Dakar be repaid for time lost attending to a fallen biker the Peugeot hit?

20h20 - bikes - the bike stage results are starting to make sense, as news arrives of Pablo Quintanilla retiring after starting second this morning after falling ill and Ricky Brbec's Honda stoping late in the stage. Faster riders emerged on top in the end as Honda duo Michel Metge and Joan Barreda Bort secured another stage 1-2 for the Japanese manufacturer with Stefan Svitko third for KTM, ahead of Argentine home hero Caimi, Renet and Rodrigues as the earlier wildcards dropped down the order. Overall KTM has a stranglehold with Sunderland, Walkner and Farres Guell in a powerful 1-2-3. Slowly, slowly catch the monkey...

20h00 - cars - Loeb  has slashed his deficit to teammate Despres down to just a minute, from over six at the restart just two waypoints back, opening up three minutes on Peterhansel  at the same time, while the third car also closes on the first. Are we now finally seeing the real pace of the Peugeot for the first time?  

19h55 - bikes - the first motorcycles have arrived at the finish of the stage, but it's going to take a little time for the day's finishing order to become apparent following this morning's commotion where leaders got lost leaving dark horses to run up front, but it seems likely that first man home Michel Metge has won yet another stage for Honda, while Sam Sunderland is home, 18 minutes off the pace but now in an even stronger half-hour overall lead over teammate Walkner as KTM's dream 20 Dakar wins in a ros starts to look real...

19h50 - cars - the first six cars are through WP8 with Peterhansel closing on Loeb closing on Despres up front, while Terranova has passed Al Rajhi for third and de Villiers is slightly closer to the Argentinian in sixth and so slightly further ahead overall. Things are however going from bad to worse for Mikko Hirvonen who has stopped with a broken radiator following a collision with a truck...

19h00 - cars - The rookie race is not he only close fight as the cars set off on their afternoon jaunt - Giniel de Villiers and Orlando Terranova's fight for fifth is also close - the two are split by 2 minutes 40 seconds, although de Villiers had a slow puncture that slowed him for most of the last 150km, which will be replaced for the second stint today...

18h52 - cars - A most interesting situation exists in the middle of stage 10 between the two cars battling for tenth overall - Abu Dhabi Sheikh Kahlid Al Qassimi's Peugeot and Zimbabwean Conrad Rautenbach driving with SA navigator Rob Howie's Toyota. The Sheikh is the leading rookie - but he's only 49 seconds ahead ot Rautenbach! Race on...

18h10 - cars - while Giniel de Villiers has made up a position over the Mini of Hirvonen, he is still under pressure form the similar car of Orlando Terranova, which has taken time out of the Toyota so far today to sit just 2:41 adrift. Giniel has a fight on his hands!

18h00 - cars - The leading cars have arrived at the mid-stage neutralisation with Cyril Despres in a handy 6:28 lead over Loeb, who's been dicing Al Rajhi and Terranova's Minis. Stephane Peterhansel is however looming large in the mirrors of the Argentinian in spite of his time stopped and may very well end up the stage winner once his time spent assisting a fallen biker who bounced off his Peugeot is deducted. Giniel de Villiers is a provisional 7th, 10 minutes off the pace but a position up overall to fifth after Hirvonen's earlier issues. The bikes have meanwhile set off on the second half of today's special - will this afternoon be an easy run, or is there still a sting in the tail of this crazy stage...?

17h 22 - cars - Peterhansel is flying - the fastest car on the stage, he's been two minutes quicker then leader Despres since getting going after stopping to assist a motorcyclist his Peugeot collided with. Peterhansel may indeed be in the theoretical stage lead pending how much time may be taken off his day's stage in lieu of his stopping to assist the stricken rider...

17h15 - bikes - The break in stage allows us to take a look at the overall positions and there has been a huge shake-up there. While Sam Sunderland may have had a tough morning, both he and KTM have come away from this morning'd fracas smiling - the top of the leaderboard is all change with the Aussie now leading a KTM 1-2-3 from Walnber and Farres-Guell, with van Beveren fourth for Yamaha, Renet's Husqvarna and Barreda up to sixth for Honda. That is a complete change from this morning when Sunderland led Pablo Quintanilla, van Beveren, Walkner, Farres Guell and de Soultrait. Interestingly Barreda would now be leading by two minutes overall, were it not for his hour penalty last week.

17h10 - bikes - Ricky Brabec emerged as the surprise leader that te neutralisation point of today's stage, the Californian and his Honda quite literally flying under the radar with is timing transponder not registering a time at the waypoints. He however passed Czech surprise Klymsiw to lead at the break with the Metge brothers  third and fourth

17h05 - cars - it seems Sebastien Loeb is carrying  a problem? He's losing time to most of the cars around him to the tune of a minute per waypoint

16h50 - cars - Big news! Mikko Hirvonen as lost 51 minutes and has only just passed WP1, which means that Giniel de Villiers moves up to fifth overall behind Despres, Loeb, Peterhansel and Toyota teammate Roma

16h45 - cars - As more cars emerge at WP2, it appears that some crews scored the best navigational luck in that controversial sector. Despres still shows as the leader, but the Peruvian Fuchs, who started 12th in his HRX buggy found himself second from Chile's Boris Garfuliec, who jumped from an 18th position start slot into second from Al Rajhi and Loeb.

16h30 - cars - the dreaded WP2 was not kind to Toyota hope Nani Roma, who hemorrhaged over 18 minutes to the leading Peugeot and the man he needs to dispose to scale that podium, Cyril Despres, who leads the way

16h25 - cars - interesting situation at CP1/WP3 - Peterhansel has closed on Despres and Loeb has lost ground, all of which leaves us clueless to the real situation as 'Peter's time will need to be adjusted after he stopped to assist a motorcyclist he knocked down, so we will not know the real outcome for a while to come... 

16h12 - cars  - Stephane Peterhansel lost his time when his Peugeot collided with biker Simon Marcic. 'Peter' stopped to provide assistance to him and wait for the the medical team before resuming the stage, which means he will likely see the time lost standing adjusted this evening....

16h08 - bikes - with the exception of the fluctuation as we wait for the leaders to finally pass the waypoints, the bike race seems to have settled down after those chaotic first two waypoints with the top ten now behaving normally and only slight positional changes from point to point. Now let's see how WP treats the balance of the cars...

16h02 - cars Giniel is through the dreaded WP2 reasonably unscathed -  he lost 7 minutes to Despres, two to Loeb and one to Terranova, whom he leads by 4:34 overall... 

16h00 - cars - Peterhansel appears - he's lost 11 minutes to Loeb, which means he now site squarely behind his teammates, 5 minutes behind Loeb, 5 ahead of Despres overall. Terranova provisionally third, suggesting Giniel has lost time

15h50 - cars - Despres is first car through WP2 - he's taken 5 minutes out of Loeb - that's a third of the previous gap between them going into the section, but where's Peterhansel...

15h45 - cars - now the car leaderboard seems to be on fire as a swathe of unknown competitors appear in the top ten, behind the peugeots but disposing de Villiers to 8th - ever heard of Fuchs, Gutierrez Flieg or Dumas? Besides Dumas, neither have we! 

15h40 - general - while we wait for the first cars to emerge from dealing  with the section where all those bikers got lost, the bikes are proving difficult to follow and we have to wait over half an hour for the results to settle down thanks to so many dark horses finding themselves on top of the timesheets...

15h35 - bikes - the tumult has been positive for the Southern African riders - Vince Crosbie passed WP1 a fine 35th and SA Para to Dakar hero Joey Evans was a sensational 66th...

15h30 - bikes - the commotion in the bikes has seen a provisional shake-up overall after WP4 with Sunderland now leading Walkner, Rebet, Barreda and Goncapves

15h25 - bikes - the bikes that started 25th, 17th, 19th and 22nd - Adrien Metge, Klymciw, Aussie Top Smith and Cervantes were the top four through Checkpoint 1/Waypoint 3. First away this morning Barreda sat 12th, second man away Walkner was 15th and race leader Sunderland, who started third was 12th...

15h25 - cars - Toyota duo Roma was through CP1 in 7th, Rautenbach 8th, but now the car have entered the sector where all the bikes went awry - watch this space...

15h20 - bikes - Lady rider Lala Sanz has meanwhile enjoyed a good run through the commotion. She lay 9th at CP2 - 11 places up from today's start...

15h15 - bikes - Quintanilla has made it to WP2 but he's lost an hour and dropped well down the leaderboard from second overall. Viscount de Soultrait also lost an hour lost to suffer a similar fate...

15h10 - cars - Giniel de Villiers was 2:35 off Peterhansel at WP1 but had taken 4 minutes out of Mikko Hirvonen who sits fourth overall ahead of him and he's also opened the the gap on tbe pursuing Terranova

15h05 - bikes - Adrien Van Beveren reached WP2 31:17 behind surprise leader Adrien Metge!, while Xavier de Soultrait was last seen  heading in completely the wrong direction, while KTM duo Sam Sunderland and Matthias Walkner lost north of 12 minutes each. Meanwhile Quintanilla has stopped in the stage and is working on his Husqvarna...

15h00 - bikes - still no sign of Quintanilla, Brabec & Soultrait at CP2 - they were clearly well lost...

15h00 - cars - The cars are now in the stage too with the Peugeots trough WP1 and there's already almost a change in the overall lead  as Peterhansel draws level with Loeb and Despres loses 3 minutes 

14h50 - bikes - As an example of the chaotic position at the Dakar, Adrien Metge, who started 25th, is now the stage leader at WP2, from Klymciw who set of 18th and Renet ho jumps from 8th to third , First man away Barreda has slipped to 8th and second man off, Walkner is 16 minutes behind in 14th, with top ten bikers Quintanilla, Brabec and de Soultrait all missing in action 30 minutes after the leader arrived at the waypoint...

14h30 - bikes - The bikes are racing and already by WP2 there seems to be chaos in the dues as positions chop and change wildly as organisers warned on navigation challenges, with race leader Sam Sunderland losing 16 minutes by WP1 and second place man Quintanilla in the lead, but the Chilean is among several top riders to be lost has been lost since and is late and still due at WP2. That left unknown Czhech rider Klymciw ahead of fellow Husqvarna rider Pierre-Andre Rent and Michel Metge with Sunderland making a dramatic comeback. Dakar's fat lady has certainly not yet sung!

10h05 - cars - Peugeot boss Bruno Famin feels uncomfortable with Toyota's Nani Roma so close with two difficult Dakar stages ahead on Thursday and Friday: “It's not so comfortable, because the organisers said that the next two stages are going to be tough as well, with difficulties with navigation,” Famin pointed out. “Okay, we have a margin against Nani, but no so big - to lose 20 minutes is very easy - you get lost, you get stuck, you have two punctures... and that's it. “Yes, we're three cars ahead – and that's comfortable butt the gap is not comfortable. “You never know - look at the stage with Toyota where Nasser went off, fuel problem with de Villiers, it was just a mess for all the cars – if it happened to Toyota, it could happen to everybody - we have to be very cautious.”

09h50 - cars - Both Toyota's Nani Roma in fifth and Peugeot's third-placed Cyril Despres intend fighting for the Dakar win despite Wednesday's much-anticipated 'Super Belen' stage being cancelled. “Sure, I believe there is a chance to win," Roma conceded. "I try to do my best every day, some days it works well, some days not, but we try, "In these conditions, in the down  we are better than these last days - the race is not finished, you know and today is a hard day.” Despres pointed out: “We arrive to complicated places, we're a little bit more in the desert now – and there's so many places, so many holes and so many riverbeds, some dunes, some vegetation - there's a lot of places to get some time but also to lose time. It's not over. “I will keep in the same rhythm because there is still Nani Roma not far from me - I will keep going in a good rhythm, this is what I have to do.”

09h45 - bikes - Spain's Joan Barreda Bort has blasted Dakar organsiers for cutting and shortening stages this year "I don't know if the solution is to cancel the Honda rider, who is fighting back in ninth overall after suffering a one-hour penalty for illegal refuelling on top of losing time lost, pondered. "I think yesterday was an important stage to have - they should have moved the stage to another day, stop the Dakar and continue the race on a different day because if they start cancelling one day after the other, the truth is that the race is going to be watered down. "I don't think cancelling is the solution - maybe stop the Dakar for a day until everything is fine and then resume competition, because cancelling is the easy choice."

09h40 - general - Dakar Rally route director Etienne Lavigne has defended the decision to dramatically cut the race distance due to extreme weather conditions this year. "It's really sad for us, but when you see the circumstances that happened to that village, I'm not sure that the sporting aspect is the most important," Lavigne pointed out. "Nine years now we have come to Argentina. We were aware of these conditions, there was just this year the phenomenon of very violent weather."

09h30 - cars - Peugeot race boss Bruno Famin reckons Sebastien Loeb's navigator (and brother in law)  Daniel Elena has impressed him most this year. "The one who impressed me is not Seb, it's Daniel,” Famin revealed. “It's quite strange to say it, but nobody can be impressed at this level of his career by the speed of Sebastien Loeb. “Yes, Seb has been able to manage his pace, which was a difficulty for the first year. He has made no mistakes, and that's the good, very good point. He has been able to adapt his pace, but the one who was really impressive was Daniel, who, OK, made a couple of small mistakes, but no more than more experienced co-driver teammates. "He's done until now a very good job.”

Dakar 2017 gets back on track again today following the extreme mountain conditions seeing to the cancellation of a second stage Wednesday leaving just three days of racing and today and tomorrow the only real chance for anyone to do anything about the Peugeot domination up front.

And with the majority of today’s run at sane altitudes (it does peak at 2600m, which is taller than any peak in SA, albeit half the regular altitude that so benefited the turbo cars in the past week), the Toyota V8 bakkies should be back to a power advantage to even things out versus the lightweight turbodiesel French buggies.

Today also has enough mileage and challenges to once again turn the race on its head  and what the race really needs is for Loeb and Peterhansel to take their turn at being lost for a sizeable amount of time, as so mysteriously has happened to both their principal rivals, Mikko Hirvonen and Giniel de Villiers. At least there is a fight among the Peugeots should they not falter - and its an intriguing battle too - between Mr. Rally Loeb and Mr. Dakar Peterhansel…

On two wheels its a  matter of Sam Sunderland hanging in there to give KTM its 20th Dakar win on the trot. He has a handy lead and a calm head should see him through, bur then this is Dakar 2017 and everyone seems prone to getting lost. Organisers promise the bikers will be challenged in today’s long ‘trial’ section which sets the tone for the beginning of the stage. 

The course then shifts to faster terrain towards the end, but there are navigation traps ready to ensnare any competitors who get too complacent. Every mistake will carry a hefty price tag. Which is a pity because so many people are being turned off by that becoming too important and eroding the race in it. Let’s hope they can just race today - Dakar really needs that.

Dakar 2017 Results - Cars - Stage 8
1. Sebastien Loeb (Peugeot) 
2. Stephane Peterhansel (Peugeot)
3. Cyril Despres (Peugeot)
4. Mikko Hirvonen (Mini)
5. Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) 
6. Orlando Terranova (Mini) 
7. Nani Roma (Toyota) 
8. Sheikh Al Qassimi  
9. Gerard Garafulic (Mini)
10. Conrad Rautenbach (Toyota) 

Cars - Overall
1. Sebastien Loeb (Peugeot)  21:10:05
2. Stephane Peterhansel (Peugeot) +1:38
3. Cyril Despres (Peugeot) +17:07   
4. Nani Roma (Toyota) +23:26
5. Mikko Hirvonen (Mini) +53:41
6. Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) +1:21:44
7. Orlando Terranova (Mini) +1:26:47
8. Jakub Przygonski (Mini) +1:42:10
9. Boris Garafulic (Mini) +2:42:57
10. Romain Dumas (Peugeot) +3:09:17
13. Conrad Rautenbach (Toyota) +3:52:33

Bikes - Stage
1. Joan Barreda Bort (Honda)
2. Matthia Walkner (KTM) 
3. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 
53. Vince Crosbie (KTM)
96.  Joey Evans(KTM) 
Quads: 1. Sergry Kariyakin (Yamaha)

Bikes - Overall
1. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 21:10:08
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) +20:58
3. Adrien van Beveren (Yamaha) +28:49
41. Vince Crosbie (KTM) +4:46:46
98. Joey Evans (KTM) +15:17:55
Quads: 1.  Sergry Kariyakin (Yamaha) 27:45:50

Trucks - Stage
1. Martin van den Brink (Renault) 1:55:20
42. Behringer/Berriman (MAN) +2:08:43

Trucks - Overall
1. Dimitri Sotnikov (Kamaz) 19:52:50
35. Behringer/Berriman (MAN) +19:50:43

TODAY'S FINALIST - Toyota Hilux 2.4 GD6 CLICK HERE to read all about it!