British champ Sunderland out of Dakar Rally due to back pain


SAN JUAN DE MARCONA, Peru (AP) British motorcyclist Sam Sunderland abandoned his Dakar Rally title defense on the fourth stage due to back pains 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.

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 Puegeot 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, slowed down.

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.

Nasser Al-Attiyah, the two-time champion who won stages one and three, ran into bad luck again, stopping twice about 200 kilometers in and losing more than half an hour.

Cyril Despres, a five-time champion on a bike but now driving, suffered a broken rear wheel at about 180 kilometers, and his rally bid appeared over.

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 said he suffered no fractures but was staying in hospital.

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