Loeb claims fifth Dakar stage win in a row

Sebastien Loeb has a fifth Dakar stage win in a row

Sebastien Loeb has a fifth Dakar stage win in a row

Sebastien Loeb has scored a fifth straight stage win in Dakar 2023 but Nasser Al-Attiyah’s already massive lead is now even greater.

Loeb’s victory on the second day of the Empty Quarter Marathon puts the Bahrain Raid Xtreme driver ahead of Lucas Moraes and into second overall after Stage 12.

However, Al-Attiyah, who was third on the day in his factory Toyota Hilux, is now 1:27:10s to the good with just two stages to go.

Once again, Loeb was quickest throughout in what was a 185km special through dunes and chott, with Al-Attiyah and Mattias Ekstrom left to fight over second place.

Ekstrom finished 3:19s slower than the #201 Prodrive Hunter in his Audi RS Q e-tron, and 12 seconds up on the #200 Toyota Gazoo Racing entry.

Guerlain Chicherit (GCK Motorsport) finished fourth on the day and Jakub Przygonski (X-Raid Mini JCW Team) fifth, with Moraes a relatively lowly 10th in his Overdrive Racing Hilux after stopping for a period of time.

Overall, the latter has slipped to 2:01s behind Loeb, but is almost an hour up on factory Hilux counterpart, Giniel De Villiers.

For Loeb, it is a case of what could have been after three punctures on Stage 2, mechanical problems on Stage 3, and a rollover on Stage 5.

However, the nine-time World Rally Champion now looks highly likely to finish Dakar 2023 runner-up to Al-Attiyah.

“It was a good stage for us,” said Loeb.

“We had a good drive: no mistakes at all, a big push all the time.

“A perfect stage for me, so it was really good and we are really happy with the car, no trouble at all.

“I’m pushing for second, so I’m trying my best.”

In the Trucks, Janus Van Kasteren’s (Boss Machinery Team De Rooy Iveco) lead over team-mate and fellow Dutchman Martin Van Den Brink (Eurol Team De Rooy Iveco) has blown out to 33:03s after the latter suffered mechanical problems on Stage 13.

Quads is led by Alexandre Giroud (Yamaha Racing – SMX – Drag’on) by 44:00s, Lightweight Prototype by Austin Jones (Red Bull Off-Road Jr Team USA by BFG) by 1:04:37s, and SSV by Rokas Baciuska (Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team) by 7:43s.

CLICK HERE for Bikes report

CLICK HERE for extended highlights of Stage 12

Overall classification: Cars Top 10

Pos Driver Co-driver Team Time/Gap
1 Nasser Al-Attiyah Mathieu Baumel Toyota Gazoo Racing 41:16:25
2 Sebastien Loeb Fabian Lurquin Bahrain Raid Xtreme +1:27:10
3 Lucas Moraes Timo Gottschalk Overdrive Racing +1:29:11
4 Giniel De Villiers Dennis Murphy Toyota Gazoo Racing +2:22:21
5 Henk Lategan Brett Cummings Toyota Gazoo Racing +2:34:21
6 Martin Prokop Viktor Chytka Orlen Benzina Team +3:00:26
7 Brian Baragwanath Leonard Cremer Century Racing Factory Team +3:34:23
8 Wei Han Ma Li Hanwei Motorsport Team +4:11:38
9 Mathieu Serradori Loic Minaudier Century Racing Factory Team +4:17:38
10 Juan Cruz Yacopini Daniel Oliveras Carreras Overdrive Racing +4:17:53

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