Mini’s Stephane Peterhansel closed the gap to Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Nasser Al-Attiyah on Stage 7, with the Qatari driver having to settle for fourth on the day.

That said, Al-Attiyah is still more than 29 minutes ahead of Peterhansel in the overall standings, with Mini’s Nani Roma sitting in third (and another four Mini drivers in the top ten). Sebastien Loeb, meanwhile, lost time due to electrical problems in his Peugeot on the seventh stage, dropping down to fourth place in the standings.

“It was a really difficult one today,” said Hilux driver Al-Attiyah. “We started the day as the second car on the road, but then Sebastien lost time early on, and we had to open the road for most of the stage.”

South Africa's Giniel de Villiers enjoyed a fairly strong showing on Stage 7, posting the sixth-fastest time on the day.

“Our starting position for tomorrow puts us two cars behind Nasser – just six minutes in real time. So, if Nasser runs into any difficulties, which we really hope he doesn’t, we’ll be on site very quickly to support our teammate,” said De Villiers.

Dakar 2019 has three more stages to go, and will visit the Peruvian town of Pisco for two days before heading northwards to Lima, where the race draws to a close on January 17.

Stage 7 results:

1. Peterhansel (Mini)
2. Roma (Mini): +04:33
3. Sainz (Mini): +09:28
4. Al-Attiyah (Toyota): +11:58
5. Despres (Mini): +12:50
6. De Villiers (Toyota): +16:31
7. Przygonski (Mini): +20:50
8. Han (Buggy): +25:16
9. Ten Brinke (Toyota): +25:45
10. Prokop (Ford): +26:29

Overall standings:

1. Al-Attiyah (Toyota)
2. Peterhansel (Mini): +29:16
3. Roma (Mini): +37:59
4. Loeb (Peugeot): +54:12
5. Despres (Mini): +01:20:01
6. Przygonski (Mini): +02:12:02
7. Prokop (Ford): +02:34:58
8. Al Rajhi (Mini): +03:39:33
9. Ten Brinke (Toyota): +04:32:31
10. Sainz (Mini): +05:15:31