Loeb wins Dakar Stage 9 as Sainz flips

Sebastien Loeb won Dakar Stage 9

Sebastien Loeb won Dakar Stage 9

Sebastien Loeb has won Stage 9 of the Dakar Rally while Carlos Sainz’s frustrating campaign is finally over after front-flipping his Audi.

In the overall classification, factory Hilux driver Nasser Al-Attiyah’s overall lead is an even greater 1:21:57s despite setting only the eighth-fastest time of the day, given Toyota Gazoo team-mate Henk Lategan lost ground due to a mechanical drama on the 358km special between Riyadh and Haradh.

Lategan has now dropped to fourth overall, with Overdrive Racing’s Lucas Moraes the best of the rest in another Toyota Hilux and Bahrain Raid Extreme’s Loeb third.

Action resumed after the rest day and Loeb was quickest to all but one waypoint on Stage 9, when he trailed fellow Prodrive Hunter driver Vaidotas Zala (Teltonika Racing) by 20 seconds at Kilometre 123.

The nine-time World Rally Champion went on to win the day by 3:07s with Zala second and Guerlain Chicherit (GCK Motorsport) third in an all-Hunter top three.

Al-Attiyah was 11:08s off the pace at the stage finish and Moraes rounded out the top 10, but Lategan was classified 63rd after technical issues brought him to a halt just 18km in.

Carlos Sainz ended up on his roof when he landed his RS Q e-tron nose-first off a dune just six kilometres into the special.

The three-time Dakar champion did not give up easily, however.

He was in a helicopter on his way to hospital with back pain only for the pilot to have to land in order to enter the correct coordinates, at which point Sainz decided to hitch a ride in Audi’s service truck back to his battered car, and would be classified a finisher.

Nevertheless, he is now set to pull out given the damage to the #207 e-tron is too great.

With Stephane Peterhansel out already, it leaves just Mattias Ekstrom left for the factory Audi team, but the Swede is seven hours off the pace in 27th.

A short but dune-dominated 114km special awaits on Stage 10.

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Overall classification: Cars Top 10

Pos Driver Co-driver Team Time/Gap
1 Nasser Al-Attiyah Mathieu Baumel Toyota Gazoo Racing 34:19:20
2 Lucas Moraes Timo Gottschalk Overdrive Racing +1:21:57
3 Sebastien Loeb Fabian Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme +1:43:08
4 Henk Lategan Brett Cummings Toyota Gazoo Racing +1:46:23
5 Giniel De Villiers Dennis Murphy Toyota Gazoo Racing +2:04:17
6 Romain Dumas Max Delfino Rebellion Racing +2:25:51
7 Martin Prokop Viktor Chytka Orlen Benzina Team +2:45:36
8 Brian Baragwanath Leonard Cremer Century Racing Factory Team +2:48:06
9 Wei Han Ma Li Hanwei Motorsport Team +3:32:15
10 Juan Cruz Yacopini Daniel Oliveras Carreras Overdrive Racing +3:52:52

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