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13 photos from the Dakar as they near half way

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With seven stages down in the 2016 Dakar, it is shaping up differently to last year’s race.  KTM and Kamaz are seeing stiffer competition and it seems that the French Lion is roaring with Peugeot taking a solid lead.

The Bike category is a fight between the KTMs and the Hondas with the Hondas showing the pace but also the fragility. It is a tight battle between the brands with Husqvarna sitting on the edge.  In the quads, there seems to be a winner and a retirement for that person the next day, though the Patronelli brothers are there, their local knowledge so important and certainly not to be written off.

 Jordi Viladoms (ESP) from Red Bull KTM Factory Team performs during stage 5 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Jujuy, Argentina to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 7, 2016. Person Jordi Viladoms, Red Bull KTM Factory Team Photographer Credit Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
Jordi Viladoms (ESP) from Red Bull KTM Factory Team performs during stage 5 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Jujuy, Argentina to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 7, 2016.
Photographer Credit
Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
 Jordi Viladoms (ESP) of Red Bull KTM Factory Team races during stage 06 of Rally Dakar 2016 around Uyuni, Bolivia on January 8, 2016 Photographer Credit Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
Jordi Viladoms (ESP) of Red Bull KTM Factory Team races during stage 06 of Rally Dakar 2016 around Uyuni, Bolivia on January 8, 2016
Photographer Credit
Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
 Marcos Patronelli (ARG) from Yamaha Racing performs during stage 4 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Jujuy to Jujuy, Argentina on January 6, 2016. Photographer Credit Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
Marcos Patronelli (ARG) from Yamaha Racing performs during stage 4 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Jujuy to Jujuy, Argentina on January 6, 2016.
Photographer Credit
Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
 Antoine Meo (FRA) of Red Bull KTM Factory Team races during stage 07 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 9, 2016 Photographer Credit Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
Antoine Meo (FRA) of Red Bull KTM Factory Team races during stage 07 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 9, 2016
Photographer Credit
Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
 Helder Rodrigues (PRT) of Yamaha Racing Team races during stage 07 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 9, 2016 Photographer Credit Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
Helder Rodrigues (PRT) of Yamaha Racing Team races during stage 07 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 9, 2016
Photographer Credit
Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

One could be forgiven for thinking the 38th edition of the Dakar is a Peugeot parade. Look a little closer, though, and you will see a clash of titans between the three teammates of the Lion brand. Sébastien Loeb fired the opening salvo this morning by posting the fastest time at CP1. He doubled up on his performance in the second sector, but even that could not keep Carlos Sainz down. Loeb’s former teammate in rallies, also a world rally champion, pulled out all the stops and went one better than the driver from Alsace by flawlessly navigating the final part of the special and winning the stage by 38 seconds. Stéphane Peterhansel was unable to keep up and gradually conceded ground, although he remained within striking distance.

 Team Peugeot Total (FRA) at the bivouac of stage 6 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 8, 2016. Photographer Credit Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
Team Peugeot Total (FRA) at the bivouac of stage 6 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 8, 2016.
Photographer Credit
Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
 Sebastien Loeb (FRA) of Team Peugeot-Total races during stage 07 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 9, 2016 Photographer Credit Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) of Team Peugeot-Total races during stage 07 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 9, 2016
Photographer Credit
Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
 Carlos Sainz (ESP) from Team Peugeot Total at the bivouac of stage 6 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 8, 2016. Photographer Credit Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
Carlos Sainz (ESP) from Team Peugeot Total at the bivouac of stage 6 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 8, 2016.
Photographer Credit
Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool
 Sebastien Loeb (FRA) from Team Peugeot Total performs during stage 5 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Jujuy, Argentina to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 7, 2016. Photographer Credit DPPI / Red Bull Content Pool
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) from Team Peugeot Total performs during stage 5 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Jujuy, Argentina to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 7, 2016.
Photographer Credit
DPPI / Red Bull Content Pool
 Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) of Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa races during stage 06 of Rally Dakar 2016 around Uyuni, Bolivia on January 8, 2016 Photographer Credit Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) of Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa races during stage 06 of Rally Dakar 2016 around Uyuni, Bolivia on January 8, 2016
Photographer Credit
Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

Unlike previous years, the Kamaz trucks are not having it all their own way with MAN and Iveco taking the top spots at the moment.  Though over the last couple of stages, the Russian machines have been making their comeback and cannot be discounted.

 Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) of Team KAMAZ Master races during stage 04 of Rally Dakar 2016 around Jujuy, Argentina on January 6, 2016 Photographer Credit Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) of Team KAMAZ Master races during stage 04 of Rally Dakar 2016 around Jujuy, Argentina on January 6, 2016
Photographer Credit
Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
 yrat Mardeev (RUS) of Team KAMAZ Master races during stage 07 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 9, 2016 Photographer Credit Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
yrat Mardeev (RUS) of Team KAMAZ Master races during stage 07 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 9, 2016
Photographer Credit
Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
 Ayrat Mardeev (RUS) of Team KAMAZ Master races during stage 05 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Jujuy, Argentina to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 7, 2016 Photographer Credit: Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
Ayrat Mardeev (RUS) of Team KAMAZ Master races during stage 05 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Jujuy, Argentina to Uyuni, Bolivia on January 7, 2016
Photographer Credit:
Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool