Toby Price put Monday’s dune trouble behind him to claim his second stage win of the 2021 Dakar Rally as Nasser Al-Attiyah recorded another car victory over the 403 km timed special stage skirting the notorious Empty Quarter desert.
Two-time champion Price recorded an emphatic Stage Three victory on Tuesday that leaves him just under two minutes behind bike leader Skyler Howes overall.
– The Australian led home Kevin Benavides and Red Bull KTM Factory Team colleague Matthias Walkner over the dunes with Briton Sam Sunderland fifth and Australian rookie Daniel Sanders an encouraging eighth.
– Price, 33, said: “It’s like a yo-yo at the moment, I’m either right at the front or at the back. Navigation makes it difficult to lead a stage out.”
In the car category, Toyota Gazoo Racing driver Al-Attiyah came in first ahead of South African teammate Henk Lategan with Stéphane Peterhansel third as the Frenchman retained his overall lead.
– Reigning champion Carlos Sainz lost half an hour after a navigation mistake, however Sebastien Loeb drove hard for sixth place with Cyril Despres 10th, Kuba Przygoński 11th and Giniel De Villiers 27th.
– Al-Attiyah, 50, said: “We really pushed a lot and made no mistakes. Mathieu (Baumel, co-driver) did good navigation. Everything on the car is working really well.”
– Peterhansel, 55, added: “A big mix of everything. We got a puncture on the rocky sections, so I held back a bit after that. Then we picked up speed in the canyons.”
Russian Dmitry Sotnikov trailed home Siarhei Viazovich to retain a healthy truck lead over the Belarusian with Kamaz Master teammate Anton Shibalov 23 minutes behind him in third overall.
– Sotnikov, 35, said: “Navigation has been a big challenge at this Dakar. We’re paying attention to find the right direction and checking the road for any traps. So far, our tactics have been working.”
– Chilean Chaleco López claimed another Lightweight vehicle stage victory as Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team drivers Seth Quintero and Mitch Guthrie Jr also finished in the top 10 with Cristina Gutiérrez back in 13th.
– Lopez, 45, said: “The kilometres were very tough. We suffered a puncture. My co-driver was excellent with the navigation on the second part. We were able to go fast to the finish line.”
– Wednesday’s Stage Four sees the Dakar convoy head to Riyadh with the competitors covering 856km – 337km to the Saudi Arabian capital against the clock.
Overall ranking after stage 3
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) X-Raid Mini 10h 39m 02s
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) Toyota Gazoo +00h 05m 09s
3. Mathieu Serradori (FRA) SRT Racing +00h 26m 21s
1. Skyler Howes (USA) KTM 12h 04m 48s
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG) Honda +00h 00m 33s
3. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA) Husqvarna +00h 01m 28s
1. Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) Kamaz Master 11h 47m 11s
2. Siarhei Viazovich (BLR) Maz Sportauto +00h 16m 56s
3. Anton Shibalov (RUS) Kamaz Master +00h 23m 01s
1. Francisco Lopez Contardo (CHL) Can-Am 13h19m10s
2. Aron Domzala (POL) Can-Am +00h06m08s
3. Austin Jones (USA) Can-Am +00h07m13s