RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Defending champion Stephane Peterhansel recovered from a slow start to clinch the third stage of the Dakar Rally in Argentina on Wednesday.
The 51-year-old Frenchman rallied late to finish the 780km stage from Tucuman to Jujuy in four hours 18 minutes and 17 seconds, almost two minutes ahead of his Peugeot teammate Carlos Sainz of Spain.
France's nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb, also in a Peugeot, crossed the line in third, more three minutes behind Peterhansel.
Earlier, Spain's Joan Barreda assumed the overall lead in the motorcycle category by taking the third stage in four hours 23 minutes and 41 seconds on his Honda.
The 33-year-old finished more than 12 minutes ahead of KTM rider Sam Sunderland of Britain, with Frenchman Pierre Renet another three minutes further back on his Husqvarna.
Australia's defending champion Toby Price was ninth on his KTM, more than 21 minutes adrift of Barreda.
Barreda leads the overall standings, 10 minutes ahead of Sunderland and 13 minutes clear of Portugal's Paulo Goncalves.