Dakar 2020, Stage 9: Al-Attiyah wipes out Sainz’s lead

X-raid Mini driver Stephane Peterhansel recorded his third stage win of the 2020 Dakar Rally, as Nasser Al-Attiyah closed in on rally leader Carlos Sainz.

The three frontrunners of the 2020 marathon benefitted from an advantageous position in the running order for the 476km Wadi ad-Dawasir – Haradh stage, following their low-key finishes on Monday.

But whereas Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah took full advantage, clocking in first and second at nearly every waypoint, Sainz suffered a costly five-minute loss shortly after the 100-kilometre point.

And with Al-Attiyah just 15 seconds behind stage winner Peterhansel at the finish, the Toyota driver slashed Sainz’s lead in the marathon down to less than a half a minute.

The gap between Sainz and third-placed Peterhansel, meanwhile, has been halved and now stands at 6m38s.

Behind the battle for victory, Toyota driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi and X-raid Mini’s Orlando Terranova maintain a stranglehold on fourth and fifth respectively in the general classification.

Mathieu Serradori and Fernando Alonso, who made up a surprise top two in the previous stage, both had a more difficult Tuesday.

Serradori, first on the road in his Century buggy, surrendered almost half an hour relative to Peterhansel and has fallen back from the two Toyotas of Giniel de Villiers and Bernhard ten Brinke in the fight for sixth overall.

Alonso, meanwhile, was 13 minutes slower than Peterhansel, which was still enough for the two-time Formula 1 champion to move up to 10th place overall.

His next target is fellow Toyota driver and local hero Yasir Seaidan, but the Saudi is over 40 minutes up the road and was boosted by a strong showing on Tuesday, finishing third-fastest behind Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah.

The longest of the three remaining stages in Dakar 2020 will follow on Wednesday, with the 534km Haradh – Shubaytah test designated as the rally’s so-called ‘marathon stage’.

This means that competitors will not be able to receive assistance from their technical crews in the Shubaytah bivouac, and will instead have to make any necessary repairs by themselves.

General classification (top 10):

Pos.#Driver / Co-driverCarTimeGap
1305

Carlos Sainz

Lucas Cruz

Mini35h11m54s 
2300

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Mathieu Baumel

Toyota35h12m18s24s
3302 Stephane Peterhansel
Paulo Fiuza
Mini35h18m32s6m38s
4309

Yazeed Al-Rajhi

Konstantin Zhiltsov

Toyota35h46m10s34m16s
5311

Orlando Terranova

Bernardo Graue

Mini36h1m35s49m41s
6304

Giniel de Villiers

Alex Haro

Toyota36h9m51s57m57s
7307

Bernhard ten Brinke

Tom Colsoul

Toyota36h20m53s1h8m59s
8315

Mathieu Serradori

Fabian Lurquin

Century36h36m14s1h24m20s
9324

Yasir Seaidan

Alexy Kuzmich

Mini37h47m29s2h35m35s
10310

Fernando Alonso

Marc Coma

Toyota38h29m17s3h17m23s

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