2009 Dakar Rally car champion Giniel de Villiers made up time on leading trio Carlos Sainz, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Stéphane Peterhansel after stage eight of the 2020 edition as the bikes and quads did not race in honour of Paulo Gonçalves.
Here is all you need to know:
– The car, side-by-side and truck categories took to the route on Monday with the 477 km loop around the Wadi Al-Dawasir bivouac one of the shorter stages.
– De Villiers struggled during the first week at the inaugural Saudi Arabian staging, however the South African stepped up a gear to finish fourth on the day behind Frenchman Mathieu Serradori with former F1 and Le Mans champion Fernando Alonso in second place.
– De Villiers now lies 53 mins 12s behind Spaniard Sainz with the two-time winner’s overall lead cut to just 6 mins 40s by Qatari Al-Attiyah with French 13-time champion Peterhansel now only 13 mins 09s adrift after all three of the leading cars finished outside the top eight.
– Peterhansel, 54, said: “We drove together for the last 70 kilometers. At the beginning it was Carlos opening the road until he got stuck, then Nasser got stuck in the dunes and after that I opened the road for more than 200 kilometers. Only at the end Nasser passed me.”
– Even though Polish driver Kuba Przygonski is out of contention for a podium place overall, he claimed sixth place on Monday alongside navigator Timo Gottschalk.
– The side-by-side category took another twist as overall leader Casey Currie saw reigning champion Chaleco Lopez halve the American’s lead to 15 mins 40s after the Chilean finished just 22 seconds behind 2018 champion Reinaldo Varela of Brazil.
– American Mitch Guthrie Jr. took over Cyril Despres and Mike Horn’s engine after Sunday’s stage and repaid their gesture with another stage win, while compatriot Blade Hildebrand finished 14th.
– Guthrie Jr. admitted: “Now we’re out of the general classification and into the Dakar Experience class, so the aim is to pick up more of these stage wins.”
– Russian Andrey Karginov was a class above again in his truck as he won by nearly 5 mins 54s to increase his advantage over fellow Team Kamaz Master driver Anton Shibalov to 27 mins 06s, who remains the only serious rival heading into the final four stages of the race.
– Tuesday’s stage nine will see all five Dakar categories head east to Haradh over a monster distance of 891 kilometers, including a 415-kilometer special stage.
Top three overall results in each category
1. Carlos Sainz (ESP)/Lucas Cruz (ESP) MINI Buggy 31h56m52s
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota +06m40s
3. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) MINI Buggy +13m09s
1. Ricky Brabec (USA) Honda 28h 25m 01s
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna +24m 48s
3. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHI) Honda +27m 01s
1. Andrey Karginov (RUS) Kamaz 34h 31m 43s
2. Anton Shibalov (RUS) Kamaz +27m 06s
3. Siarhei Viazovich (BLR) Maz +01h 05m 17s
1. Casey Currie (USA)/Sean Berriman (USA) Can-Am 39h 47m 37s
2. Chaleco Lopez (CHI)/Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre (CHI) Can-Am +15m 40s
3. Sergei Kariakin (RUS)/Anton Vlasiuk (RUS) Can-Am +34m 29s
1. Ignacio Casale (CHI) Yamaha 36h 12m 58s
2. Simon Vitse (FRA) Yamaha +36m 43s
3. Rafal Sonik (POL) Yamaha +01h 23m 31s
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Red Bull Media House