After clinching ninth place in stage five at Dakar 2021, Mini X-Raid’s Carlos Sainz returned to the top spot for the sixth stage, strengthening his podium position in the general ranking. This was followed by a surprise win from Toyota Overdrive’s Yazeed Al Rajhi in Sunday’s stage seven.

Stage six saw competitors travel from Al Qaisumah to Ha'il with a 488 km special. The loose surface proved to be tricky for some but Dakar veteran Sainz was able to conquer it with a first-place finish, making this the 38th stage victory of his career. Despite this, Sainz is still quite a bit behind Toyota Gazoo’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mini X-Raid’s Stephane Peterhansel in the general standings, with a 40 minute and 39 second variance.

Crossing the line four minutes and three seconds later on the day was was Al-Rajhi, who was closely followed by Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel, respectively. Despite the variance growing larger by the stages, Jakub Przygonski of Toyota Overdrive retained fourth place in the general rankings after finishing stage six in fifth position.

As for Sébastien Loeb, his chances of being a contender for the win with team Bahrain Raid Xtreme have been reduced to virtually zero after he broke a suspension arm at the beginning of the special.

Faring a bit better was Toyota Gazoo’s Giniel de Villiers, who comfortably crossed the line in eighth place, with a 22 minute and 20 second variance. He followed Century Racing’s Brian Baragwanath and BRX’s Nani Roma.

Stage ranking

1. Sainz (Mini)
2. Al Rajhi (Toyota): +04:03
3. Al-Attiyah (Toyota): +07:16
4. Peterhansel (Mini): +07:34
5. Przygonski (Toyota): +14:21
6. Baragwanath (Century): +19:16
7. Roma (BRX): +19:33
8. De Villiers (Toyota): +22:20
9. Despress (Peugeot): +25:45
10. Vasilyev (Mini): +26:11

General ranking

1. Peterhansel (Mini)
2. Al-Attiyah (Toyota): +05:53
3. Sainz (Mini): +40:39
4. Przygonski (Toyota): +01:11:36
5. Roma (BRX): +01:36:55
6. Baragwanath (Century): +01:50:32
7. Vasilyev (Mini): +02:05:47
8. Al Qassimi (Peugeot): +02:07:21
9. De Villiers (Toyota): +02:12:12
10. Prokop (Ford): +02:29:07

After a day of rest on Saturday, competitors continued from Ha’il to Sakaka for stage seven, which consisted of a 284 km liaison with a 453 km special. Here, stage six’s runner-up Al-Rajhi crossed the line in the top spot and was followed very closely by Peterhansel, Sainz and Al-Attiyah, respectively.

Przygonski’s consistency continued after he completed the stage in fifth place yet again, with SRT’s Yasir Seaiden following him by two minutes and 43 seconds.

De Villiers suffered from four punctures in this stage, crossed the line in 22nd place and adding 48 minutes and 12 seconds to his variance. Despite this, he climbs to eighth place in the general rankings after Century Racing’s Baragwanath failed to complete the stage.

The race continues as stage eight takes drivers from Sakaka to Neom over a 344 km liaison with a 375 km special.

Stage ranking:

1. Al Rajhi (Toyota)
2. Peterhansel (Mini): +00:48
3. Sainz (Mini): +01:15
4. Al-Attiyah (Toyota): +02:48
5. Przygonski (Toyota): +12:00
6. Seaidan (SRT): +14:43
7. Despres (Peugeot): +17:06
8. Serradori (SRT): +17:53
9. Vasilyev (Mini): +20:59
10. Roma (BRX): +22:53

General ranking:

1. Peterhansel (Mini)
2. Al-Attiyah (Toyota): +07:53
3. Sainz (Mini): +41:06
4. Przygonski: (Toyota): +01:22:48
5. Roma (BRX): +01:59:00
6. Vasilyev (Mini): +02:25:58
7. Al Qassimi (Peugeot): +02:35:52
8. De Villiers (Toyota): +02:59:36
9. Prokop (Ford): +02:59:50
10. Lavielle (Optimus): +03:22:54