Doha, Qatar: Qatar's Nasser Al Attiyah closed in on overall victory at 2019 Dakar Rally in the Peruvian dunes on Tuesday after finishing second in the eighth stage, behind French veteran Sebastien Loeb.
On the day, Peugeot’s Loeb clinched the San Juan de Marco to Pisco stage with a margin of 7min 27sec on the Al Attiyah in his Toyota, with the Pole Jakub Przygonski third at 15min 15sec.
The winner in 2011 and 2015, Al Attiyah now stands 46 minutes ahead of second-placed Nani Roma of Spain with two stages to go.
The day's big loser was another Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel, who went into the race still hoping for victory but who emerged from the dunes saying he needed a miracle.
"Even if he got stuck in a dune he'd still have plenty of time after such a good race, he really has had a superb race," Peterhansel said of the leader.
The Frenchman explained he had got off to a quick start but fell foul of a series of costly mishaps.
"When we got stuck the first time we lost probably around ten minutes. After that, we continued to push a little bit, but I got stuck a second time, It was not a good day for us."