Despite having a strong start in this year’s Dakar, Toyota Gazoo’s Nasser Al-Attiyah has declared that he is out of the race after suffering serious damages on his Hilux. This, after leading the stage for most of his running time.
Loeb started off with a 28 second lead but Al-Attiyah was able to better that gap by four minutes in the opening sectors. Peugeot’s Peterhansel however, was able to challenge Al-Attiyah by closing the gap down to two minutes.
Shortly after this Al-Attiya’s Hilux came to a halt after the hitting a big stone which caused his wheel to completely break off. This caused the front-runner at the time to remain stationary for an hour until the issue was resolved, only to come to a stop once again 30 km later, causing him to fall behind by two hours.
After an interview with Dakar’s official media, Al-Attiyah declared that it was “Game over. A bad day,” and “It was a mistake … it’s bad luck but this is the race. This is how the Dakar is. We were doing a really good job, we were leading but there you go…”
Toyota’s Giniel de Villiers also suffered a 35 minute gap after having to stop in the second part of the stage, causing him to fall out of the top ten as well.
Peugeot managed to take full advantage of this break down as it ended the stage with a 1-2-3 win by Loeb, Sainz and Peterhansel respectively. Mini’s Miko Hirvonen lies 9 min 38 sec behind them.
Current standings are as follows:
1. Loeb/Elena (Peugeot) 6 h 54 min 56 sec
2. Sainz/Cruz (Peugeot) +42 sec
3. Peterhansel/Cottret (Peugeot) +4 min 18 sec
4. Hirvonen/Perin (Mini) +9 min 38 sec
5. Roma/Haro Bravo (Toyota) +13 min 04 sec
6. Al Rajhi/Gottschalk (Mini) +15 min 17 sec
7. Despres/Castera (Peugeot) +15 min 25 sec
8. Terranova/Schulz (Mini) +21 min 29 sec
9. Przygonsi/Colsoul (Mini) +27 min 37 sec
10. De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz (Toyota) +35 min 20 sec