Peterhansel wins stage four, Loeb stays in front

Stephane Peterhansel finished ahead of Carloz Sainz on stage four of the Dakar Rally on Wednesday, while Sebastien Loeb retained his overall lead after finishing third.

Peterhansel got off to a flying start on the 266-mile route, and was more than a minute up on  Loeb and 2015 winner Nasser Al-Attiyah at the first checkpoint.

Al-Attiyah would lose more time as the stage progressed, but Loeb managed to close the gap to 39 seconds by the third checkpoint.

Loeb would ultimately finish 27 seconds behind Peterhansel to ensure he leads his countryman by 4m48s in the overall standings.

Sainz finished just 11 seconds behind the winner in second, but still has plenty of catching up to do after the engine trouble that cost him more than 10 minutes on stage two.

Sainz now lies fifth overall, 13m04s adrift of Loeb.

Al-Attiyah crossed the line in fourth as the the first non-Peugeot driver to lie in third place overall, 11m09s behind Loeb.

In the bike category, Spain's Joan Barreda Bort won the stage to also take over at the top of the overall standings.

Barreda finished 1m49s clear of Portuguese teammate Paulo Goncalves, with Ruben Faria following in third, 4m24s back.

Barreda leads by close to two minutes overall, ahead of Goncalves in second and another Honda rider, Argentina's Kevin Benavides, in third.