In the ninth stage dominated by the sand, from Calama to Iquique, the fight for the win proved to be a battle between Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) in the black and Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) in the white MINI ALL4 Racing. At the end of the 302-kilometre special stage, Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA) got the upper hand and crossed the finish line 2.27 minutes ahead of Al-Attiyah and Lucas Cruz (ESP). The Spanish-Portuguese pairing Nani Roma / Michel Périn finished third, in the yellow MINI ALL4 Racing, thus defending the overall lead.
DeVilliers was fifth on the stage and has now slipped to fifth overall behind the Mini’s in his Overdrive Hilux. Carlos Sainz struck front suspension problems at the 195km mark and was forced to return to the Bivouac. BJ Baldwin was the best of the Americans on Stage 9, finishing 19th.
In the moto category, Marc Coma made his mark and reinforced his lead in the general standings whilst picking up his 23rd special stage victory on the Dakar. He is now 1min 21sec ahead of Joan Barreda, and 5min 28sec in front of Frenchman Cyril Despres.
While Husseini picked up the stage win on his Honda, the Chilean, Casale holds down the overall quad lead on a Yamaha.
The 10th stage, contested tomorrow, once again comprises a two-part special stage with a 231-kilometre and a 215-kilometre part. The drivers will have to battle their way through sand as early as during the first 100 kilometres but afterwards, the track surface will be harder. The second part features several fesh-fesh sections to end on winding tracks.
Auto Results Stage 9 (Calama – Iquique):
1. S. Peterhansel (FRA) / J.-P. Cottret (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 17m 53s
2. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / L. Cruz (ESP) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 20m 10s
3. N. Roma (ESP) / M. Périn (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 29m 29s
4. O. Terranova (ARG) / P. Fiúza (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 32m 07s
5. G. de Villiers (ZAF) / D. von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota – 4h 40m 50s
Auto Overall Ranking after Stage 9:
1. N. Roma (ESP) / M. Périn (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 34h 15m 37s
2. S. Peterhansel (FRA) / J.-P. Cottret (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 34h 27m 47s
3. O. Terranova (ARG) / P. Fiúza (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 35h 10m 10s
4. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / L. Cruz (ESP) MINI ALL4 Racing – 35h 15m 23s
5. G. de Villiers (ZAF) / D. von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota – 35h 15m 23s