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Motorsport | Dakar Rally

De Villiers slips down Dakar standings



South Africa's Giniel De Villiers slipped to sixth overall in the car standings after stage three of the Dakar Rally in Nazca, Peru, on Monday.

The South African, who won the race in 2009 landed in 15th place after getting lost, losing more than 20 minutes due to navigation problems.

"A disappointing day for us," said De Villiers.

"In the dunes we overlooked an official which pointed to the right direction, and instead followed in the tracks of motorcycles who had also wrong-routed."

De Villiers said this error added an extra 15 kilometres through the dunes.

"A pity, as that was our only mistake today. But, tomorrow is a new day," said De Villiers.

"Now we need to remain error-free in order to stay in the leading group."

As a result after day three, De Villiers and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz lie 30 minutes and 22 seconds adrift of overall leader and race-favourite Peterhansel.

Last year's Dakar winner, Nasser Al-Attiyah from Qatar, won the 343km stage, finishing second in the overall standings.

American driver Robby Gordon steered his Hummer home in second place, over a minute behind the leader, while Mini driver Stepahane Peterhansel followed in third, but retained an overall race lead of six minutes and 33 seconds (00:06:33).

Meanwhile, in the bike section, Darryl Curtis reached Nazca in 22nd place and is now 13th overall, 11 minutes behind overall leader and defending champion Cyril Despres.

The stage winner was Francisco Lopez of Chile, who is now second overall behind Despres.

Also in the bike section, Riaan van Niekerk, riding in his first Dakar, had a good day in the dunes and finished the special stage in 20th position.

The South African is now 25th overall, 12 minutes behind his teammate and 23 minutes behind Despres.

Stage four between Nazca and Arequipa in Argentina is twice as long as Monday's and the longest of the race so far, covering a total of 717 kilometres.

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