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Loeb wins Dakar eighth stage, Al Attiyah edges closer to title

Sebastien Loeb

San Juan de Marco (Peru), January 16: Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah closed in on overall victory at 2019 Dakar Rally in the Peruvian dunes after finishing second in the eighth stage, behind French veteran Sebastien Loeb.

On the day, Peugeot's Loeb clinched the San Juan de Marco to Pisco stage, finishing 7min 27sec, ahead of Al Attiyah in his Toyota, with the Pole Jakub Przygonski third at 15min 15sec.

The winner in 2011 and 2015, Al Attiyah now stands 46 minutes ahead of second-placed Nani Roma of Spain with two stages to go.

Big loser

Big loser

The day's big loser was another Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel, who went into the race still hoping for victory but who emerged from the dunes saying he needed a miracle.

"Even if he got stuck in a dune he would still have plenty of time after such a good race, he really has had a superb race," Peterhansel said of the leader.

Toyota crew

Toyota crew

Continuing to lead is Qatar's Al Attiyah and his French navigator Mathieu Baumel.

The Toyota crew have been using all their rally-raid knowhow in the second week of the race to consolidate their position at the head of the contest.

"We were surprised when we got the finish line to see that we had increased our lead," the Red Bull athlete said

Impressive speed

Impressive speed

It was a fourth stage win for Loeb and his Monaco co-driver Daniel Elena.

The duo showed their customary impressive speed over the dunes to get themselves back in the rally after a tough stage 7. Loeb's most recent stage win puts him third overall, and just 16sec behind Spaniard Roma in second place.

"It was a very good day. Just a puncture in kilometre six where we had to change the wheel was the only big issue," said nine-time world rally champion Loeb.

Tough for MINI drivers

Tough for MINI drivers

It was a tough Super Ica stage for all three X-raid MINI JCW Team drivers including Frenchman Peterhansel, his compatriot Cyril Despres and Spain's defending champion Carlos Sainz.

This trio of multiple Dakar winners all conceded time to their rivals in the Peruvian dunes.

If the competitors still in the race weren't feeling dizzy enough already, the ninth stage featuring the 313km loop around the Pisco bivouac may just push a few over the edge.

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Story first published: Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 11:10 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 16, 2019
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