Rallying: Loeb wins Dakar fourth stage, Sunderland out injured

Dakar Rally- 2018 Peru-Bolivia-Argentina Dakar rally- 40th Dakar Edition stage four San Juan de Marcona to San Juan de Marcona- January

Top South African rider David Thomas brought his Husqvarna home a fine 47th, moving up nine places to 48th overall, while Donovan van de Langeberg (KTM) made up two places after posting 58th on Stage 5, to sit 65th overall.

40th Dakar Edition stage four, San Juan de Marcona to San Juan de Marcona - January 9, 2018.

The only other Indian company participating at Dakar is the Hero Motorsports Rally Team and Oriol Mena delivered his best stage of the Dakar coming in 11th in Stage 5 and reaching an overall standing of 21 after five stages.

The fifth stage had a 508 km liaison section, the longest yet of Dakar 2018 and 226 km of special stage making up for a total of 774km.

Even Hero MotoSports suffered an injury let down when their senior-most rider Joaquim Rodrigues withdrew with a back problem after stage 1. The soft sand with high slopes have tested the mettle of the competitors.

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- Sam Sunderland's Dakar Rally title defense ended on Tuesday after the British motorcycle rider crashed in Peru's Ica desert while leading the race and had to be flown out by helicopter. The former Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham manager, who was making his debut in the rally, felt back pains after his vehicle crashed against a sand dune in the fourth stage. He had to be taken to the hospital too.

Al-Rajhi, out of contention for overall honours following his early collision with teammate Boris Garafulic, threatened to give X-raid's new buggy its first stage win, but was delayed by half an hour through the final waypoints.

Van Beveren faces some tough competition from Honda's Kevin Benavides and Red Bull KTM's Matthias Walkner.

WRC legend Sebastien Loeb (pictured) enjoyed a first stage win of the year after going toe to toe with Stephane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz for most of the day.

With the WRC legend ruled out, his Peugeot teammates Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz were left standing as the two frontrunners in the auto class, and it was the former who bolstered his chances with a strong time through Wednesday's test. The temperature will drop sharply with there is also possibility of heavy rain.

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