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Attiyah takes stage eight of the Dakar Rally

Qatar's Nasser Al Attiyah won the 8th stage but Nani Roma kept his comfortable overall lead of the Dakar Rally.

Last updated: 14 Jan 2014 11:53
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Nasser Al Attiyah won the eighth stage of the Dakar Rally [Reuters]

Qatar's Nasser Al Attiyah has won the eighth stage but Spaniard Nani Roma and kept his comfortable overall lead in the car group of the Dakar Rally.

Attiyah, the 2011 champion, claimed top spot in the 302-kilometre course that took the drivers from Argentina into Chile.

Two-time defending champion Stephane Peter-hansel of France came in second.

Roma finished sixth and saw his overall lead cut down to 23 minutes.

Roma endured two punctures on the stony track and finished sixth, losing eight minutes off his lead over defending champion Stephane Peterhansel of France.

Peterhansel was down to 24 minutes off the pace. Giniel de Villiers of South Africa remained 48 minutes behind in third, and Orlando Terranova of Argentina stayed fourth, 51 minutes back.

Coma and the motorbikes left from Uyuni, Bolivia, on a 460-kilometre trek around the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s biggest salt flats.

Coma, with a big overall lead, was happy to stay on the tail of his great rival, Cyril Despres of France, the titleholder who won his first stage of the year.

Despres beat Joan Barreda Bort of Spain and Coma by more than two minutes, but Despres was still more than two hours behind Coma overall.

Barreda remained second and 38 minutes behind Coma overall, and the only rider within an hour of the leader.

The rally returns to the treacherous sand dunes on Tuesday, racing through the Atacama Desert from Calama to Iquique.

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Al Jazeera and agencies
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