Peterhansel and Loeb continue Dakar duel

The action resumed in South America after a rest day. Find out what happened on Stage 7 here.
Stéphane Peterhansel on the way to Uyuni, Bolivia, on Stage 7 of the 2017 Dakar Rally on January 9, 2017
Stéphane Peterhansel en route to Stage 7 victory © Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
By Tim Sturtridge & Joseph Caron Dawe

Following the cancellation of Stage 6 on Saturday due to some horrendous weather conditions (check out our homage to mud) and the persistence of said terrible climactic situation, a new course for Stage 7 was designed by the Dakar Rally race directors.

An "unprecedented combination of the original routes of Stages 6 and 7" was devised by the organisers, along with a new road book, on the rest day on Sunday, ready for action on Monday.

The result? A 161km special stage on mostly sandy terrain, sandwiched by two link sections of 400km and 240km respectively, and finishing up in Uyuni, Bolivia.

The competitors would need to pull on all the rest they'd managed to get in the previous day.

Cars: Peterhansel handles the pressure

There's a fantastic duel developing in the car category between Team Peugeot Total team-mates Stéphane Peterhansel and Sébastien Loeb, and it isn’t showing any signs of letting up.

Peterhansel maintained his lead atop of the overall standings with a stage win on Monday, but with Loeb finishing less than a minute behind him the pair remain tight at the top of the general rankings, as both appeared in their element in the sand.

Giniel de Villiers climbed a couple of places thanks to his top three finish on the day, and Nani Roma leapfrogged Cyril Despres into third overall.

We take everything that there is to take

Stéphane Peterhansel

Top 10 overall after Stage 7:

1. Stéphane Peterhansel (Team Peugeot Total) 15h57m6s
2. Sébastien Loeb (Team Peugeot Total) +1m57s
3. Nani Roma (Toyota) +11m7s
4. Cyril Despres (Team Peugeot Total) +14m1s
5. Mikko Hirvonen (Mini) +47m24s
6. Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) +1h11m44s
7. Orlando Terranova (Mini) +1h16m6s
8. Kuba Pryzgonski (Mini) +1h18m2s
9. Boris Garafulic (Mini) +2h8m20s
10. Romain Dumas (Peugeot) +2h48m37s

Sébastien Loeb drives in the sand dunes on Stage 7 of the 2017 Dakar Rally to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 9, 2017
Sébastien Loeb is keeping tabs on Peterhansel © Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

Bikes: Sunderland stays on top

Despite a slight detour early in the special, Sam Sunderland managed to finish third on the stage, and in the process extend his lead at the top of the overall standings to almost 20 minutes.

A tough day for Pablo Quintanilla saw the Chilean lose ground on his British rival, as American Ricky Brabec scored his first ever Dakar stage win with an impressive ride to come in ahead of Paulo Gonçalves and Sunderland.

A fall for Adrien van Beveren cost the Yamaha rider just over six minutes in the general classification, as Matthias Walkner lost a similar amount of time on Sunderland as well.

Top 10 overall after Stage 7:

1. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 17h28m53s
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) +17m45s
3. Adrien van Beveren (Yamaha) +22m16s
4. Gerard Farres (KTM) +28m36s
5. Matthias Walkner (KTM) +34m17s
6. Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha) +38m33s
7. Pierre-Alexandre Renet (Husqvarna) +1h2m37s
8. Paulo Gonçalves (Honda) +1h5m22s
9. Joan Barreda (Honda) +1h14m47s
10. Diego Duplessis (KTM) +1h15m36s

Sam Sunderland racing to victory on Stage 7 of the 2017 Dakar Rally to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 9, 2017
Sam Sunderland kept a tight grip on the overall © Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

Trucks: Sotnikov makes gains

A first stage win this year for Dmitry Sotnikov saw the Russian move up into second place overall, and just two minutes off leader Gerard de Rooy.

The Dutchman finished the day fourth, just over four minutes off the KAMAZ driver as the truck category rankings were shaken up.

Top 10 overall after Stage 7:

1. Gerard de Rooy (IVECO), 15h 52m 07s
2. Dmitry Sotnikov (KAMAZ), +00h 02m 11s
3. Eduard Nikolaev (KAMAZ), +00h 05m 57s
4. Ayrat Mardeev (KAMAZ), +00h 20m 12s
5. Federico Villagra (IVECO), +00h 33m 42s
6. Pascal de Baar (Renault), +00h 37m 18s
7. Hans Stacey (MAN), +00h 46m 15s
8. Anton Shibalov (KAMAZ), +00h 46m 37s
9. Peter Versluis ((MAN), +00h 56m 40s
10. Teruhito Sugawara (Hino), +01h 30m 43s

Quads: Karyakin enjoys double delight

Sergey Karyakin took his first stage win of the 2017 Dakar and the overall lead in the quads in one fell swoop, as he beat Axel Dutrie to the win on the day.

It gave Karyakin a five-minute lead at the top of the standings, on a day which proved a tough one for the previous stage winner Kees Koolen, who experienced technical problems that slowed him down. A top three result for Ignacio Casale kept him in touch with Karyakin.

Top five overall after Stage 7:

1. Sergey Karyakin (Yamaha) 22h13m25s
2. Simon Vitse (Yamaha) +5m16s
3. Axel Dutrie (Yamaha) +5m20s
4. Ignacio Casale (Yamaha) +15m58s
5. Daniel Mazzucco (Can-Am) +1h15m31s

Matthias Walkner in action on Stage 7 of the 2017 Dakar Rally to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 9, 2017
Matthias Walkner kept touch but lost time © Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

Quote of the Day

It came from two-wheeled winner Ricky Brabec...

If I’ve actually won the stage, it’s something awesome!

What went down on the rest day?

Apart from a new route for Stage 7 being concocted, the competitors took the chance to catch up on various things, such as media duties, vehicle maintenance and more.

Here's a selection of images from around the bivouac in La Paz.

Get well soon Toby Price

It's been a harsh Dakar Rally so far, with some high profile withdrawals, none more so than 2016 champion Toby Price, whose crash on Stage 4 resulted in a broken femur that forced him out of this year's race.

Price has since posted an X-Ray of his femur, which broke in four places – a truly horrendous injury and one which we wish him a speedy and safe recovery from.

In case you missed it…

A cancelled Stage 6 and a rest day didn't mean we took our foot off the gas.

Want to see the kind of air pressure the competitors face at altitude, in the form of a crisp packet exploding? Of course you do.

Ever wondered what it's like to be a mechanic under pressure at the Dakar? Wonder no more, as we followed one of Nasser Al-Attiyah's wrenchmen Warren Naude for you.

And want to see the very best of the action from the first week at the 2017 Dakar Rally? We put together this clip that brings together the finest from the opening stages of this year's race.

Coming up tomorrow…

Stage 8: Uyuni to Salta (ARG)
Timed stage: 492km
Total distance: 892km
The passports come out for the last time as the final border crossing of the 2017 Dakar sees the convoy leave Bolivia and reenter Argentina. Salta has witnessed some dramatic racing in recent editions of the rally, and we could be in for more shock results in the region's many canyons.

Get the latest Dakar news and videos on our dedicated event page.

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