De Villiers regains 4th spot at Dakar

Giniel de Villiers enjoyed a good stage 10 at the 2014 Dakar Rally.

Toyota Imperial’s South African driver Giniel de Villiers has regained fourth spot in stage 10.

CAPE TOWN - Toyota Imperial's South African driver Giniel de Villiers and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz were the only petrol-engined 4 X 4 team to take the fight to the turbo-diesel Minis in stage 10 of the 2014 Dakar Rally.

The 2009 champions overcame another fast and dusty course to finish fourth on the day and regain fourth place overall, with three of the 13 special stages remaining before the finish in Valparaiso in Chile on Saturday.

Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah and Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz won the stage ahead of defending champions Stephane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret of France. Nani Roma of Spain and Michel Perin of France finished third.

In the overall standings, Roma and Perin still lead, but second-placed Peterhansel and Cottret have reduced the gap from 12 minutes 10 seconds to two minutes 15 seconds.

De Villiers said it was a tough stage.

"We got stuck on a sand dune and stalled the engine. It was a stupid mistake and cost us around six minutes," said de Villiers.

"Amazingly, no-one passed us. We knew we had made up good time on Terranova, who was ahead of us in the general classification yesterday. We were also slowed by a flat tyre - it came off the rim - and we lost some more time when I battled to get up a sand dune. We finally managed after deflating the tyres. We completed the last 50 kilometres at half throttle with low fuel pressure. All in all, we're happy with the result and the fact that we live to fight another day."

South Africans Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie were again delayed for several hours after breaking a front upright 130 kilometres from the end of the stage. They were having a great run and were lying 19th on the stage after starting 33rd, but were slowed when they had to wait for the assistance truck.

Thomas Rundle and Juan Mohr delivered another steady performance to finish 21st on the stage and are 22nd overall.

The rally continues to make its way south down the west coast of Chile, with Thursday's 11th stage from Antofagasta to El Salvador dominated by a tough crossing of the Atacama Desert, the driest in the world. After mine tracks and many river crossings in the first part of the 605-kilometre special stage, it will be into the heart of the dunes of Copiapo. Competitors will spend more than six and a half hours in their cars.

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