Mitsubishi’s Stephane Peterhansel maintained his lead over team-mate Hiroshi Masuoka after winning the 438 km-stage to Siwa on Sunday. Fabrizio Meoni won the motorbike section.

Mitsubishi’s Stephane Peterhansel maintained his lead over team-mate Hiroshi Masuoka after winning the 438 km-stage to Siwa on Sunday. Fabrizio Meoni won the motorbike section.

Meoni is third overall, behind leader Richard Sainct and Cyril Depres. Sainct has a 12 min and 47 sec overall lead over Depres.

Peterhansel finished 1 min 30 sec ahead of BMW driver Luc Alphand, and about another minute ahead of Masuoka. He has an overall lead of 16 minutes over second-placed Masuoka. Gregoire de Mevius is third overall in the BMW Z5. He is 1 hr 31 min 47 sec behind Peterhansel.

South African Giniel de Villiers finished seventh on the 11th stage

and improved one position, moving up from eighth place to seven overall.

De Villiers benefited after the all-woman team of Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons, fourth overall in the 10th stage in their Volkswagen Desert Nardo, had mechanical problems on the stage and had to be towed to the finish.

On Friday, another South African, Vicus van Deventer, was forced to retire after suffering mechanical problems.

Van Deventer, who was competing in the experimental class for quads, did not have the spare parts available to repair his quad and continue the race.

"I am really disappointed. I started the race with a great engine and I had a spare engine, which was loaded on one of the other team's trucks, but they ran out of space and I had to remove it from their truck. We then arranged that it would be flown to me for replacement on the rest day, because we could not find another berth to carry it along," said Van Deventer.

"Unfortunately my engine broke in Valencia in Spain and I was forced to buy a secondhand engine from a local client. The idea was to nurse that engine to the rest day on Monday where I would have replaced the engine with a spanking new DS 650 Baja single-cylinder, four-stroke Rotax engine from the factory in Canada.

“I suppose you need a good amount of luck running such risk and mine has just run out. The temporary replacement engine, which I have used since Spain was old and had worked hard in its life, I was told by the client, but I soldiered on, and now it just could not take the strain any longer, leaving me with no parts to repair it," he said.

Nissan driver Ari Vatanen of Finland won the ninth stage between Sabha and Zilla in the Libyan desert on Friday. Frenchman Richard Sainct of the KTM team clocked the best time of the day to take the motorbike section.

Masuoka won the 10th stage between Zilla and Sarir in 3 hours, 46 minutes and 36 seconds on Saturday. Per-Gunnar Lundmark of Sweden won the motorbike section.

Monday is a rest day. The rally will restart on Tuesday at Siwa.