Sainz virtual leader, Al-Rajhi abandons

Sainz virtual leader, Al-Rajhi abandons

Carlos Sainz occupies the position of virtual leader in the car classification on the Dakar, halfway through the marathon stage. Leader Thursday morning, Yazeed Al-Rajhi rolled over and had to abandon.

It was the first part of the marathon stage dreaded by all the competitors, and it kept all its promises! This Thursday, the Dakar drivers inaugurated a new stage formula: at 4:00 p.m., they all had to stop at the nearest bivouac. Without an Internet connection, they couldn’t know where their rivals were. Mutual assistance between competitors was, however, authorized, before everyone set off again on Friday morning. But the bivouac, the leader of the auto category did not see it.

The Saudi Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Toyota), who had a nine-minute lead over Nasser Al-Attiyah (Prodrive) on Thursday morning, actually rolled over. Although neither he nor his co-pilot were injured, they were forced to abandon. So much so that the new leader is called Carlos Sainz, but all this is only provisional, since all the competitors did not leave at the same time. Indeed, the starting order of the day was reversed compared to the order of arrival on Wednesday, and some, like Sébastien Loeb, had chosen to voluntarily waste time during the 5th stage so as not to open the road to the 6th.

Peterhansel at a standstill

In the end, six drivers crossed crossing point E (476 km) and therefore had to reach rest point F to spend the night: Nasser Al Attiyah, Mattias Ekström, Guerlain Chicherit, Martin Prokop, Giniel De Villiers and Carlos Sainz. Virtually, the Spanish Audi driver is 4’31 ahead of his teammate Ekström and 7’19 over Al Attiyah, defending champion.

Sébastien Loeb (Prodrive), for his part, reached crossing point D and at that time he occupied fourth place in the provisional virtual general classification, a quarter of an hour behind the Qatari. On the other hand, the day went badly for Stéphane Peterhansel (Audi), victim of a puncture at the 225th kilometer then a hydraulic problem, and who lost a lot of time. On Wednesday, 549 kilometers will be on the program, so a lot can still happen.

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