Stéphane Peterhansel and Nasser Al-Attiyah cut down Carlos Sainz’s overall car lead to just over 10 minutes ahead of the final 2020 Dakar Rally stage on Friday as defending bike champion Toby Price moved into third place.
Here is all you need to know:
– Two-time winner Sainz had carved out a healthy 18 mins 10s lead over Qatari Al-Attiyah and 18 mins 26s over Frenchman Peterhansel, but his two main rivals have 10 Dakar titles between them and they made sure the inaugural Saudi Arabian edition goes down to the wire.
– Thirteen-time Dakar bike and car champion Peterhansel edged out Toyota driver Al-Attiyah by 10 seconds over the 744 km stage 11 from Shubaytah to Haradh with Sainz 8 mins 3s behind Peterhansel in his MINI Buggy to set up a grandstand finish on Friday.
– Peterhansel, 54, admitted: “We pushed all day long and we gained some time, but not enough. Now, if Carlos can bring it home, it’ll be great for the team.”
– Sainz, 57, declared: “It’s good to have put the marathon stage behind us. Just one day to go. I’ll keep an eye on the gaps and stay focused for tomorrow.”
– Poland’s Kuba Przygonski finished fifth on the day with 2009 winner Giniel de Villiers behind him in sixth as the South African lies fifth overall ahead of the final stage.
– In the bikes, 2018 champion Matthias Walkner finished nine seconds behind stage winner Pablo Quintanilla of Chile to move up to fourth in the standings.
– Argentine Luciano Benavides was third on Thursday with Australian Price’s fifth-placed finish elevating him to third overall as Spaniard Joan Barreda slipped back.
– Price, 32, explained: “Honda just needs to protect their lead. The guys are riding fast and riding smart. We’re doing our best, we’re trying to keep in the fight.”
– Defending SxS champion Chaleco Lopez was back in the groove as he put his foot down to win the stage by 10 mins 53s with American Blade Hildebrand back in 18th as compatriot Mitch Guthrie Jr. suffered a mechanical, but American Casey Currie still holds a big overall lead.
– Russian Andrey Karginov extended his overall truck lead to 39 mins 33s over Team Kamaz Master colleague Anton Shibalov with a second Dakar title in his sights.
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Red Bull Media House