What the truck happened in the route from Tucuman to Cordoba in Argentina today?  KAMAZ Master Team grabbed the overall top spot as Eduard Nikolaev’s truck finished the stage in sixth position.  His path was paved by Gerard De Rooy whose Petronas Team de Rooy Iveco truck experienced a blown turbo, steering problems and finally a flat tire.  As a result, he’s plummeted to fourth with just under an hour to make up; it looks like De Rooy’s chances of winning the Dakar are in the wind.  Nikolaev must make the most of his 17:56 lead, in order to put some distance between himself and Martin Kolomy with the Czech Team Tatra.  No doubt, they’ll also do their best to preserve their trucks or risk losing it all with five stages to go.

As one past Dakar champion is in dire straits, another one surrendered today.  Nasser Al-Attiyah and Lucas Cruz of the Red Bull Qatar Rally Team were unable to complete the stage due to technical problems that plagued them throughout the day.  Despite the disappointment, he pledged to improve performance in next year’s race and we’ll certainly look forward to that.  The day belonged to the Monster X-Raid team, as their Mini All4 cars piloted by Spain’s Joan ‘Nani’ Roma and Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel took the top two spots respectively. For a time, South African Giniel De Villiers seemed poised to win the stage but his Toyota Hi-Lux Pick-Up didn’t handle the continuous strain well.  He was forced to slow down in order to preserve the vehicle and ended up in fifth place but holds strongly in second place overall.  Although Peterhansel has a comfortable overall lead, De Villiers is hot on his heels and ready to fight to the very end.

France’s Cyril Despres won today’s bike stage and shot into the second overall place, right behind Portugal’s Ruben Faria who had finished fourth.  Chilean Francisco ‘Chaleco’ López had an accident but still managed to be the tenth rider to complete this difficult segment.  As a result of their tenacity and incredible skill, these three Red Bull riders round sit atop the overall rankings.  The next stop is La Rioja and we can only guess as to how the standings will look by tomorrow night.  Unless you’re camped out in Córdoba, all the action is available online at www.Dakar.com or Red Bull’s Rally Dakar 2013 web page.  Instant updates are transmitted via the official Dakar Rally 2013 iPhone app and US fans can see highlights on The Dakar Rally every morning at 2:00 am (EST) on the NBC Sports Network for the event’s duration.  Yahoo Sports has updated stage and overall results.  Of course, you can official updates and exclusive content via social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.