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Peterhansel all but secures Dakar title

Associated Press logo Associated Press 13/01/2017

French driver Stephane Peterhansel has to negotiate only a short ceremonial drive to Buenos Aires to complete a record-extending seventh Dakar Rally title.

In the 11th and last big stage on Friday, Peterhansel pounced on a puncture by his only rival Sebastien Loeb, to limit his countryman and Puegeot teammate's inroad into his nearly six-minute lead.

Loeb tore over the San Juan dunes to slash three minutes off Peterhansel's lead in the first section.

But in the second section heading to Cordoba, on a route perfectly suited to him, Loeb punctured and watched Peterhansel drive past. Loeb resumed and won his fourth stage of the race, but beat Peterhansel only by 18 seconds.

Peterhansel would have to suffer a serious mechanical problem on Saturday to blow a five-minute lead over the short sprint to the finish in the Argentine capital.

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