Peterhansel takes Dakar lead from teammate Sainz

SA's Giniel de Villiers finishes 37th after navigational challenges

04 January 2021 - 20:53 By Reuters and TimesLIVE
Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel, whose 13 wins on two wheels and four have cemented his nickname of 'Mr Dakar', leads defending champion Carlos Sainz.
Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel, whose 13 wins on two wheels and four have cemented his nickname of 'Mr Dakar', leads defending champion Carlos Sainz.
Image: Reuters

Record Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel took over from Mini teammate Carlos Sainz as race leader on Monday with Qatar's Nasser al-Attiyah roaring back in the second stage in Saudi Arabia.

Frenchman Peterhansel, whose 13 wins on two wheels and four have cemented his nickname of “Mr Dakar”, leads defending champion Sainz by six minutes and 37 seconds in the car category.

Al-Attiyah in the SA-built Toyota Hilux won the mainly sandy 457km stage from Bisha to Wadi ad-Dawasir to move up to third overall, more than nine minutes off the lead, from 10th.

“Yesterday we lost a lot of time because we opened the way and it was not really good for us and we didn't take risks. But today we went flat out and everything is working very, very well,” said the Toyota driver.

Peterhansel was second on the stage, more than two and a half minutes behind.

“This morning there was a little, or rather a lot, of stress because it was the first dunes, but also the car was full of diesel which meant it was really heavy. So, the priority was not to get stuck,” he said.

Peterhansel was still nearly seven minutes clear of triple champion Sainz, first off after winning Sunday's stage.

The 58-year-old Spaniard finished the stage third-fastest in his X-Raid Mini JCW Buggy but dropped to second overall.

Nine-times world rally champion Sebastian Loeb was sixth fastest on the stage, an improvement after punctures and errors on Sunday.

SA's Brian Baragwanath and Taye Perry were seventh on Monday in the Century CR6 buggy, but Giniel de Villiers and navigator Alex Haro Bravo (Toyota Hilux) finished way down in 37th after losing significant time due to navigational challenges.

In the motorcycle category, Spaniard Joan Barreda took over at the front from Australian KTM rider Toby Price, who dropped to 15th. The stage win was Barreda's 25th in Dakar competition.

His Honda teammate and defending champion Ricky Brabec of the US moved up to second overall.

Eighteen-year-old American Seth Quintero became the youngest Dakar stage winner in all categories after leading home the light prototype T3 class.

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