Rally ace Sebastien Loeb showed his customary impressive speed over the dunes to get themselves back in the Dakar Rally game after a tough stage yesterday. Loeb’s fourth stage win put him third overall, and just 16 seconds behind Nani Roma in second place.
“It was a very good day. Just a puncture in kilometer six where we had to change the wheel was the only big issue,” related Loeb.
Continuing to lead the race is Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah. The Toyota crew’s rally-raid knowhow has shown through in the second week of the race, as Qatari consolidated his position at the head of the contest. Al-Attiyah’s lead over Roma stands at 46m29s.
It was a tough Super Ica stage for all three X-raid MINI JCW Team drivers: Stephane Peterhansel, Cyril Despres and Carlos Sainz. This trio of multiple Dakar winners all conceded time to their rivals in the Peruvian dunes.
“A difficult, difficult day. We got stuck in the dunes and we couldn’t lift the car with the jack,” said Sainz. “Then we lost the power steering. I did not have power steering for about 200 kilometers. It was an amazingly tough day.”
Russia’s Eduard Nikolaev was thankful of the big cushion he had previously built up in the truck race today. The Team Kamaz Master trucker got stuck in the same dune section (pictured) that cost time for Despres and Sainz. Nikolaev ended up conceding nearly an hour as well as his lead to his teammate Dmitry Sotnikov.
The astonishing comeback of Chaleco Lopez in the SxS/UTV category continues at an electric pace. The Chilean led the race in the first week before tumbling down the rankings after mechanical issues in the dunes before Saturday’s Rest Day. Now Lopez is back on top and in pole position to win the Dakar on his SxS/UTV debut.
Tomorrow’s 313-km/195-mile loop around the Pisco bivouac continues through the Peruvian dunes.