Dakar Rally seventh stage shortened after rains

Rio de Janeiro, Jan 9 (IANS) The seventh stage of the Dakar Rally on Monday will be cut by half as heavy rain continues to cause havoc in the Bolivian section of the prestigious off-road race.

The La Paz-Uyuni route will be cut to a 161 km timed stage with over 600 km in liaison, organisers said on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The announcement came after Saturday’s Oruro-La Paz stage was cancelled and Friday’s Tupiza-Oruro leg was shortened due to bad weather.

Defending champion Stephane Peterhansel of France leads the overall standings, one minute and nine seconds ahead of compatriot and fellow Peugeot driver Sebastien Loeb.

Their countryman Cyril Despres – who is also driving a Peugeot – is third, four minutes and 54 seconds off the pace.

Britain’s Sam Sunderland heads the overall standings in the motorcycle category, 12 minutes in front of Chilean Pablo Quintanilla.

This year’s edition of the off-road race features 12 stages, covering more than 9,000 km in Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina before ending in Buenos Aires on January 14.

–IANS

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