Sébastien Loeb's big anger

Sébastien Loeb’s big anger

Although he had to settle for 17th place in the 10th stage around Alula, Sébastien Loeb took more than seven minutes from Carlos Sainz, making a nice comeback in the general classification. The Alsatian could nevertheless have it bad.

Sébastien Loeb can continue to believe in a first coronation on the Dakar. Two stages from the end of the event, the Frenchman has in fact returned to 13 minutes behind Carlos Sainz in the general classification. After having regained four minutes the day before, the Alsatian pilot recovered seven on Wednesday, on the occasion of the 10e stage, a loop of 612 kilometers including 371 special stages around Alula.

Forced to open the track, Sébastien Loeb does not even appear in the Top 10 of the day, having to settle for 11e place 17’37” behind the winner, his compatriot Guerlain Chicherit. He nevertheless finished 7’11” ahead of Carlos Sainz. And the operation could have been even better since at kilometer 264, he was up to 16’20” ahead of his Spanish rival.

We lose fifteen minutes, it’s a shame

The 61-year-old driver suffered a serious scare after missing a crossing point but he was able to count on the support of his teammates Stéphane Peterhansel and Mattias Ekstrom to limit the damage. Above all, Sébastien Loeb suffered new mechanical problems which could have been avoided. His team actually forgot to charge the battery of the gun dedicated to wheel changes. The former WRC world champion did not hide his frustration upon arrival.

“A big hassle. Last night (Tuesday) we had a problem with the hydraulic jack on the car. We thought it was fixed but this morning we had a breakdown again so we couldn’t get the car up to change a wheel. We obviously had a flat tire twice on that wheel so we had to climb the rocks to find a place to tip the car to take the wheel off and be able to change it. And by hand because the “peteuse” (gun for screwing/unscrewing the studs) was empty. We lose fifteen minutes, it’s a shame,” he confided to the microphone of the L’Equipe channel, letting his anger shine through.

The outcome of this Dakar 2024 should be decided this Thursday during the 11e stage which will connect Alula and Yanbu. A stage of 597 kilometers with 480 kilometers of special. The final stage will be much less demanding with only 175 kilometers of special.

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