RIYADH: Overall leader Stephane Peterhansel finally won a stage in the 2021 Dakar Rally on Tuesday to leave his closest rival Nasser al Attiyah trailing in the Saudi Arabian desert dust.
The 55-year-old, nicknamed ‘Mr Dakar’ for his record 13 wins on two wheels and four, stretched his advantage over the Qatari to 17 minutes and 50 seconds with three stages remaining.
Until Tuesday the Frenchman had not won stage of this year’s event.
Toyota’s Al Attiyah suffered two punctures on his way to second place in the 465 km stage around Neom with defending champion Carlos Sainz, Peterhansel’s X-Raid Mini JCW team-mate, only 11th.
The Spaniard, who had to stop and repair his car’s brakes, stayed third overall.
France’s nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb retired from the event.
In the motorcycle category, Chilean Jose Ignacio Cornejo stretched his lead to 11 minutes and 24 seconds over Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, who won the stage. Britain’s Sam Sunderland was third in the standings.
Australian Toby Price crashed and was flown to hospital by helicopter for checks.
The twice Dakar winner had been second overall and was challenging for the lead on his KTM when he crashed after 155 km.
Defending champion Ricky Brabec of the United States and Sunderland stopped to assist Price and were handed back the lost time under rally regulations.
“He’s a little bit injured, I think it’s his left shoulder and left arm. He hit pretty hard on the left and didn’t really know where he was’’, said Brabec.
“He asked me probably seven times where he was and who I was. I came across him and just hung out with him until the helicopter got there.”
Price had posted images on the previous marathon stage of the ‘bush mechanic’ repairs he made to his gashed rear tyre using cable ties. New rules this year limit riders to six rear tyres for the event.
Argentine rider Luciano Benevides also crashed on the stage and was flown to the same hospital. — Reuters
DAKAR RALLY RESULTS
AUTO STANDINGS after STAGE 9
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1 Stephane Peterhansel Mini 34hr26m16s
2 Nasser al Attiyah Toyota 17m50s
3 Carlos Sainz Mini 1hr02m25s
4 Jakub Przygonski Toyota 2hr16m30s
5 Nani Roma Prodrive 2hr42m38s
6 Khalid Al Qassimi Peugeot 3hr01m13s
7 Vladimir Vasilyev Peugeot 3hr10m17s
8 Martin Prokop Ford 3hr36m01s
9 Giniel de Villiers Toyota 3hr40m09s
10 Christian Lavieille Optimus 4hr10m32s
MOTO STANDINGS after STAGE 9
Pos. Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Jose Ignacio Cornejo Honda 36h51m00s
2 Kevin Benavides Honda 11m24s
3 Sam Sunderland KTM 14m34s
4 Ricky Brabec Honda 17m26s
5 Joan Barreda Honda 29m00s
6 Daniel Sanders KTM 38m23s
7 Skyler Howes KTM 40m25s
8 Lorenzo Santolino Sherco 42m08s
9 Adrian van Beveren Yamaha 1h02m48s
10 Pablo Quintanilla Husqvarna 1h25m40s