Peterhansel extends leads after stage 11

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'>

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
  • Total Shares

Libya and Egypt:

The riders and drivers made cautious progress through the 11th stage of the Dakar rally on Sunday after the tragic death of French co-driver Bruno Cauvy on Saturday. Despite the extra care, however, British rider Patsy Quick was rushed to hospital with a suspected ruptured spleen after crashing in the Egyptian desert. She has been taken to Cairo for further tests. The trek to the town of Siwa in Egypt was proving to be gruelling for a number of the competitors on two wheels. Cyril Despres tried to keep the pressure on compatriot Richard Sainct in the motorcycle section with a good performance on his Gauloises KTM. He finished the 438-kilometre stage, which took competitors into Egypt for the first time in the race, in third place, but still 11 minutes and 17 seconds behind his fellow Gauloises rider, Sainct. Spaniard Marc Coma looked to land a top three place at the end of the day with some aggressive desert riding. But the Telefonica Repsol rider could not capitalise on his early impetus and eventually finished over 16 minutes off the pace. But the day belonged to Italian Fabrizio Meoni who was irrepressible. After a frustrating show in yesteray's stage, the two-time winner fought back in fine style. He won the stage in three hours, 45 minutes and 52 seconds, keeping the pressure on Sainct and Despres at the head of the standings. The result keeps him third overall. The going was just as tough on four wheels. Jutta Kleinschmidt, who started the stage in 4th place, experienced turbo problems and the German has now been forced out of the top five placings. Gregoire de Mevius, however, was able to keep his consistent form going with a 4th place finish in Siwa. The Belgian still lies 3rd in the category but is losing touch with the leading pair. Luc Alphand put in the surprise performance of the day. With the steering problems of yesterday now sorted, Alphand's BMX X5 battled it out with Hiroshi Masuoka's Mitsubishi Pajero for second place. Alphand eventually outlasted yesterday's stage winner to grab second spot, recording a time of 3 hours, 34 minutes, 23 seconds. However, the real battle in the motorcars is still between the Mitsubishis of Masuoka and overall race leader Stephane Peterhansel. Peterhansel produced a dominant performance on Sunday, arriving in Siwa one minute and 30 seconds ahead of Alphand, and more importantly two minutes and 26 seconds ahead of Masuoka. It means the Frenchman extends his overall lead over the Japanese driver to 16 minutes and 32 seconds. Dutchman Johannes de Rooy grabbed a third place finish in the truck stage, behind second placed driver Vladimir Tchaguine of Russia. Pace-setter in the trucks, however, is still Gerardus de Rooy who was obviously too quick even for the cameras on Sunday. Attention was drawn away from de Rooy's performance, however, when truck number 416 of Johan Pieter Retief and Nicoli Arnaldo had a back wheel destoyed by an explosion near the Egyptian-Libyan border. It is not certain what caused the blast, but there are reports of unexploded World War II mines in the area. Both crew members walked from the vehicle unhurt. (AP)