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Local hero Lopez wins first stage, Peterhansel's title hopes fade

In the motorbike race, Chilean Francesco 'Chaleco' Lopez delighted his home crowd by winning the fifth stage. In the car category, engine problems knocked out overall leader Stéphane Peterhansel from the race for the title.


Local biker Francesco 'Chaleco' Lopez (Aprilia) clocked the fastest time on the first 100 percent Chilean time trial between Copiapo and Antofagasta. He wins the fifth stage ahead of France’s Cyril Despres (KTM) and David Fretigne (Yamaha).

Spaniard Marc Coma (KTM), who won yesterday’s stage, had a difficult day, losing over 40 minutes because of a tyre problem. The stage was also marked by David Casteu’s withdrawal from the race. The French biker, who won stage one, fell around 100 kilometres from the finish line.

In the overall standings, Cyril Despres firmly holds on to the top spot with a 38 minute lead over 'Chaleco', today’s winner.

Peterhansel loses everything

In the car race, it seems that hopes have faded away for French BMW driver Stéphane Peterhansel. The leader in the overall standings before the fifth stage, the nine-time winner of the Dakar lost over an hour because of engine problems on the Chilean tracks. After Nani Roma’s accident in the third stage, there is now virtually no chance of the BMW W-Raid team winning.

Peterhansel's setbacks opened the way for Volkswagen to triumph in Antofagasta. The USA’s Mark Miller clinched the stage win ahead of teammates Carlos Sainz from Spain and Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar. In the overall standings, the three drivers hold on to the top spots, though in a different order (Sainz, Al-Attiyah and Miller), ahead of Hummer driver Robby Gordon, who is almost one hour behind.

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