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Sainz jumps clear on third-last stage of Dakar

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Thursday 16th January, 2020 - 9:39am

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Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz has jumped over 18 minutes clear of the field with victory in Stage 10 of the 2020 Dakar Rally.

The X-raid John Cooper Works driver had seen his advantage slashed to 24 seconds when he got lost and his buggy lost a tyre a day prior, but now has almost three times the overall lead he enjoyed just before that.

Competitive running on the marathon stage from Haradh to Shubaytah was cut to only 223km due to high winds and the stretched safety resources, and Sainz led all the way.

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Sainz’ fellow X-raid buggy driver, Stephane Peterhansel, had less favourable road positions than the Spaniard having finished in the top two on Stage 9.

They were within three minutes of Sainz at what would be the penultimate waypoint of the day before Peterhansel dropped more than nine more minutes and Al-Attiyah more than another quarter of an hour when they both got lost.

Al-Attiyah barely held on to second overall and is now 18:10s behind Sainz.

“It was really going very well with no problems,” said the 2019 champion.

“We caught Stephane and then at one point we got a little bit lost for two or three minutes. Then we got to the waypoint and then we took the wrong way. We did around 20 kilometres extra.

“But we came back again and we finished. We lost more than 18 or 19 minutes to Carlos, but that’s the race and it’s still a long day tomorrow.”

Peterhansel, who is still third overall but now only 16 seconds behind Al-Attiyah, recounted, “Today was not a really good day for us.

“We started first this morning and we got lost just 20 kilometres before the end of the stage. We turned around eight or 10 minutes before we found the right track.

“Nasser lost a little bit more, but Carlos and some other drivers were really lucky because they arrived just when we found the right way and then for them it was easy to follow us. At the end we finished together.”

Sainz, however, remained cautious about his prospects, saying, “We damaged the car a little bit, but everything is so far, so good.

“I didn’t really think the gap would be so big, but tomorrow is another day and the opposite could happen, so we’ll try to keep concentrating.

“If I get lost like what happened to the others today, or for me yesterday, you never know how it will finish.”

Rounding out the top five for the stage were Jakub Przygonski (Orlen X-raid Mini 4×4), Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Hilux), Pierre Lachaume (PH Sport Peugeot 2008), and Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Toyota).

The latter is fourth overall, 22:20s behind Peterhansel, with Orlando Terranova (X-raid Mini 4×4) fifth and De Villiers sixth.

Fernando Alonso (Toyota Gazoo Racing) dropped from 10th to 14th after rolling his Hilux.

In Trucks, Anton Shibalov broke Kamaz team-mate Andrey Karginov’s winning streak and while the latter was fifth on the stage, his overall lead is only a slightly reduced 36:08s.

Ignacio Casale suddenly looks far less certain in the Quads after getting lost and seeing his overall lead plummet from 44:57s to 16:18s, while Casey Currie almost doubled his overall lead in the SSV class to 46:40s.

Australians

Toby Price (KTM) slipped further from the overall lead and dropped a position to fourth overall, but Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha) made for two Australians in the top six on the day.

Faggotter remains 13th overall, Phillip Wilson (KTM) is now 52nd, Ben Young (KTM) moved to 59th, Trevor Colin Wilson (Husqvarna) holds 78th, and Matthew Tisdall (KTM) is 97th.

Stage 11, the return of the marathon stage, runs from Shubaytah back to Haradh with 379 competitive kilometres out of a total 744.

General classification: Cars (Top 10)

Pos Driver Nat Make Time/Gap
1 Carlos Sainz ESP Mini 37:15:37
2 Nasser Al-Attiyah QAT Toyota +0:18:10
3 Stephane Peterhansel FRA Mini +0:18:26
4 Yazeed Al Rajhi KSA Toyota +0:40:46
5 Orlando Terranova ARG Mini +0:57:39
6 Giniel De Villiers RSA Toyota +1:02:23
7 Bernhard ten Brinke NED Toyota +1:15:39
8 Mathieu Serradori FRA Century +1:37:21
9 Yasir Seaidan KSA Mini +2:49:28
10 Pierre Lachaume FRA Peugeot +3:28:16

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