Nasser Al-AttiyahSAN RAFAEL, Argentina _ Defending Dakar Rally car champion Nasser Al-Attiyah rebounded from losing 10 minutes on the first stage by taking yesterday’s second stage in Argentina.

The 31-year-old _ who had an engine problem with his Hummer in Monday’s opener _ beat Mini’s Stephane Peterhansel, of France, by 54 seconds in the 290-kilometre drive from Santa Rosa de la Pampa.

Peterhansel _ a six-time Dakar motorcycling champion and three-time winner in the car section _ took the overall lead ahead of Al-Attiyah’s Hummer teammate Robby Gordon of the US.

Al-Attiyah, who moved up to sixth, won despite his windscreen smashing and admitted he needed to drive more carefully in the forthcoming stages.

“We broke the window, and it was very difficult because it took a lot of time to pass the other cars,” said the Qatari, who started in 38th position.

“I just said that we had to have a good strategy and show we were still in the race.

“However, we must be more clever.”

Motorcycling champion Marc Coma had earlier won his 17th career stage in the race.

The Spaniard moved to the top of the standings after winning the 295km second stage and he also extended his lead over KTM teammate and main rival Cyril Despres.

Despres finished second in the stage but was one minute and 18 seconds in arrears of Coma.

First stage winner Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez, of Chile, was ahead at the first time marker but faded to finish fourth more than two minutes behind Coma.

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