British champ Sunderland out of Dakar Rally due to back pain
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 10, 2018 07:41 AM
Sam Sunderland, of United Kingdom, sits on his KTM motorbike prior to the start of the 4th stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally in San Juan de Marcona, Peru, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Sunderland suffered an accident during the stage and quit the race. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
SAN JUAN DE MARCONA, Peru (AP) — British motorcyclist Sam Sunderland abandoned his Dakar Rally title defense on the fourth stage due to back pain on Tuesday.
Rally organizers said Sunderland, the overall leader on a KTM, withdrew near the end of the 330-kilometer (205-mile) special around San Juan de Marcona when he was hurt after a jump.
Adrien van Beveren of France won the stage in about four hours, and took over the lead overall, with a 1:55 advantage over Pablo Quintanilla of Chile.
Another Frenchman, Sebastien Loeb, won the car stage after dueling with defending champion and Peugeot teammate Stephane Peterhansel.
Loeb and Peterhansel swapped checkpoint leads. Loeb finally led through the fourth and last while Peterhansel, whose overall lead wasn't in trouble, stopped to change a tire hanging off the rim.
Loeb beat Carlos Sainz home by 95 seconds, followed by Peterhansel for a Peugeot sweep of the podium.
Peterhansel leads overall by 6:55 over Loeb.
The former champions who started the day second and third overall dropped out of title contention.
Cyril Despres, the five-time champion on a bike but who was lying second in a car, suffered a broken rear wheel after hitting a rock at about 180 kilometers, and his rally appeared over.
Nasser Al-Attiyah, the two-time champion who won stages one and three, became stuck in sand three times and fell almost an hour off the pace.
Also, Nani Roma, a winner in the car and bike categories, didn't start the stage after crashing at the end of the third on Monday. He was airlifted to a Lima hospital with head and neck injuries, and his X-Raid team said he suffered no fractures but was staying in hospital.