Dakar leader Peterhansel roars ahead, Price crashes out


SAUDI ARABIA: Overall leader Stephane Peterhansel finally won a stage in the 2021 Dakar Rally on Tuesday to leave his closest rival Nasser Al-Attiyah trailing in the Saudi Arabian desert dust.

The 55-year-old, nicknamed ‘Mr Dakar’ for his record 13 wins on two wheels and four, stretched his advantage over the Qatari to 17 minutes and 50 seconds with three stages remaining.

Until Tuesday the Frenchman had not won stage of this year’s event.

Toyota’s Al-Attiyah suffered two punctures on his way to second place in the 465km stage around Neom with defending champion Carlos Sainz, Peterhansel’s X-Raid Mini JCW team mate, only 11th.

The Spaniard, who had to stop and repair his car’s brakes, stayed third overall.

France’s nine-times world rally champion Sebastien Loeb retired from the event.

In the motorcycle category, Chilean Jose Ignacio Cornejo stretched his lead to 11 minutes and 24 seconds over Argentina’s Kevin Benavides, who won the stage. Britain’s Sam Sunderland was third in the standings.

Australian Toby Price crashed and was flown to hospital by helicopter for checks.

The twice Dakar winner had been second overall and was challenging for the lead on his KTM when he crashed after 155km.

Defending champion Ricky Brabec of the United States and Sunderland stopped to assist Price and were handed back the lost time under rally regulations.

“He’s a little bit injured, I think it’s his left shoulder and left arm. He hit pretty hard on the left and didn’t really know where he was,” said Brabec.

“He asked me probably seven times where he was and who I was. I came across him and just hung out with him until the helicopter got there.”

Price had posted images on the previous marathon stage of the ‘bush mechanic’ repairs he made to his gashed rear tyre using cable ties. New rules this year limit riders to six rear tyres for the event.

Argentine rider Luciano Benevides also crashed on the stage and was flown to the same hospital. – Reuters

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