Hail (Saudi Arabia) (AFP)
Defending champion Carlos Sainz led his Mini to victory on stage six of the Dakar Rally on Friday, as his French teammate Stéphane Peterhansel kept his grip on the lead in motorsport’s most grueling rally.
The Spaniard, three-time Dakar winner whose son Carlos Jr races for Ferrari in Formula 1, clocked 3h 38min 27s on the special, finishing 4:03 ahead of Saudi driver Toyota Yazeed al-Rajhi for his second stage victory this year.
Nasser al-Attiyah finished third, just ahead of 13-time Dakar champion Peterhansel of France who now leads Qatar by 5:53 overall, with Sainz third at 40:39.
In the motorcycle category, the Spaniard Joan Barreda this year won a third stage victory on a course between Al-Qaisumah and Ha’il shortened by 100 km after the competitors’ delayed arrival after Thursday’s stage.
The HRC rider completed 3:45:27 on the 348 km special, finishing just 13 seconds ahead of the Yamaha driven by Botswanan Ross Branch and 0.53 ahead of Australian Daniel Sanders KTM.
Two-time Australian champion Toby Price (KTM) took the overall lead, 2:16 ahead of Honda rider Kevin Benavides, the Argentinian who broke his nose and injured his ankle in a crash of Thursday’s stage which he won again.
Leader of the day Xavier de Soultrait fell to fifth, while defending champion Ricky Brabec of the United States is 13th, 19:56 off Price’s lead.
Price, who won the Dakar in 2016 and 2019, said all riders benefited from a shortened stage before a day of rest.
“Those two boys behind me, they led all day and were absolutely on fire, the pace was crazy,” he said.
“It was a mix of everything really, so it was everywhere. Overall, we’re still in the fight, we’re still in the race. ”
Price added that “anything can happen, there is a long way to go.”
“Everything is going well and I hope the bike will get us through the second week. ”
© 2021 AFP