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Motorsport | Dakar Rally

De Villiers remains in contention



South Africa's Giniel De Villiers rose to third overall in the car standings after stage four of the Dakar Rally in Arequipa, Argentina, on Tuesday.

De Villiers and his German co-driver, Dirk von Zitzewitz, finished the 288km stage in fourth place in a time of three hours, 33 minutes (3:33:03), behind Stephane Peterhansel in third.

The South African, who won the race in 2009, trails race leader Peterhansel by 33 minutes and remains in the hunt, despite losing time to the Frenchman.

Nasser Al Attiyah, second overall, scored a second consecutive stage win to pull within five minutes, 16 seconds of Peterhansel.

“We had a good day today,” De Villiers said at the end of Tuesday's stage.

“It was a very long stage, over three-and-a-half hours of hard driving and navigating, the first really hard stage of the rally so far. The Hilux ran well.”

Meanwhile, fellow South African Riaan van Niekerk enjoyed another successful day on his bike, finishing the stage in 11th place and settling in 19th position overall, while countryman Darryl Curtis was 21st in the stage, retaining his 13th overall ranking.

Wednesday's fifth stage was set to start with a 337km liaison section and a crossing of the Andes Mountains into Chile.

A 172km special stage was expected to see a big change in terrain with stony tracks, river crossings and a series of valleys, as the race headed into the mountains.

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