Rally leader missed too many way points
The news fell over the bivouac in mid-evening: Dakar Rally boss Etienne Lavigne announced that the current rally leader in the cars category has been ruled out of the event.
"The No.302 BMW of Nasser Al Attiyah and Tina Thörner
has been excluded from the rally," stated Lavigne, explaining that "nine way points were missed" during Thursday's stage.
The Qatari had earlier admitted to missing a way point because he used alternate routes in an effort to save his overheating engine.
The now former rally leader held the advantage over Volkswagen drivers Giniel de Villiers and Carlos Sainz, and seemed the only driver able to hold back the VW charge.
Giniel de Villers is now the new leader of the 2009 Dakar Rally. On Friday morning the South African will therefore open the road from Mendoza, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile where Saturday's rest day awaits.