Eduard Nikolaev has finished an excellent penultimate special for him with his third stage victory on the Dakar. He has also taken advantage of Federico Villagra exiting the rally to extend his lead in the general standings from one second to several hours! All the Russian now needs to do is to reach the finish in Córdoba to win his third Dakar rally. His team-mate Ayrat Mardeev missed out on a stage victory by only 50 seconds.
Patrice Garrouste as equalled up the stage victory count by wining his fifth special of the year ahead of his main rival Reinaldo Varela, who also has five victories since the start. The Brazilian was beaten today by ten minutes.
No longer hindered by Ton van Genugten who is still repairing his Iveco, Ayrat Mardeev is now being pursued by Eduard Nikolaev, who must be galvanised by the perspective of winning his third Dakar. The two Russians are only separated by 44 seconds at WP7, whereas Martin Kolomy trails by more than 11 minutes.
Stéphane Peterhansel has finished one of his most difficult days on the rally. The Peugeot driver was second in the general standings this morning, but has completed the special more than one hour behind Nasser Al-Attiyah after the power steering broke on his 3008 Maxi after crashing into a tree. As a result, he is now 4th in the general standings.