Overdrive Racing’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah fought back strongly over the opening kilometres of the fourth loop stage at the Silk Way Rally in southern Russia on Tuesday.
But another costly stoppage with a minor technical issue ultimately cost the Qatari the potential stage win and he reached the overnight halt in Astrakhan still in third position.
With the differential replaced on his Toyota Hilux at the night halt, Al-Attiyah and French navigator Matthieu Baumel attacked from a lowly starting position on the road on the 366km loop stage through the Takyr deserts around Astrakhan.
When overnight leader Harry Hunt stopped with broken suspension, Al-Attiyah moved up to second place and the stage win would have enabled the two-time Dakar winner to close the gap on rally leader Yazeed Al-Rajhi with three stages remaining before the finish in Moscow on Friday afternoon.
But another minor technical issue intervened and Al-Attiyah ceded another 18min 46sec to the Saudi and now holds third position, 55min 54sec behind the rally leader. Frenchman Matthieu Serradori claimed the stage win from Al-Rajhi by just one second and climbs to second overall.
« We had the differential issue and that cost us a lot of time on both parts of the Marathon stage,