Peterhansel forced to drop out of Dakar Rally after crash
French Dakar Rally legend Stephane Peterhansel (Mini) was forced to pull out of this year’s cars competition during Wednesday’s second-to-last stage due a crash that forced his co-driver to be transported to a hospital with a back injury.
The 53-year-old Peterhansel, winner of a record 13 Dakar titles (seven in the cars division and six in the bikes category), suffered the accident at just the 26-kilometer (140-mile) mark of the 313-kilometer timed portion of the stage, which featured a mass-start format and looped around the southwestern city of Pisco.
The Frenchman’s co-driver, countryman David Castera, appeared to suffer a serious back injury when the competitors’ car crashed into a dune, the rally’s organizers said
Peterhansel started the day in fourth place in the cars’ general classification, more than 53 minutes behind leader Nasser al-Attiyah, a Qatari driver who competes for Toyota.
The French driver moved up from third to second in Monday’s seventh stage but then had a disastrous eighth stage in which he got stuck twice in very soft sand and lost more than 24 minutes to al-Attiyah.
Peterhansel had not been forced to pull out of a Dakar Rally since 2009, the first time the race was held in South America.
The 2019 Dakar Rally is taking place entirely in Peru, the only time the race has ever been staged exclusively in a single country.
It will conclude on Thursday with a 10th and final stage from Pisco to Lima, where the rally began on Jan. 7.