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Loeb wins Dakar Rally second stage as Al Attiyah slips

Sebastien Loeb

San Juan de Marcona, (Peru), January 9: Frenchman Sebastien Loeb claimed victory in the second stage of the Dakar Rally raced across challenging desert dunes Tuesday, as main rivals Stephane Peterhansel and first-stage winner Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah had days to forget.

Nine-time world rally champion Loeb, driving a private Peugeot entry after the French car manufacturer's decision to withdraw from the race, held off the Mini of Nani Roma over the last kilometres of the second of ten stages between Pisco and San Juan de Marcona to win by eight seconds.

Dutchman Bernhard ten Brinke, driving a Toyota, was third at 1min 20sec, while South African Giniel de Villiers finished fourth to take over as race leader.

Frenchman Peterhansel, who has won the Dakar six times on the motorbike and seven times in a car, paid the price after running his Mini aground in the dunes, eventually finishing 15 minutes behind Loeb.

Peterhansel's team-mate Al Attiyah, a double Dakar winner in 2011 and 2015, saw his overnight lead disappear as he could only finish 11th, 7:37 off the pace.

Big winner

Big winner

The big winner on the first 'proper' stage of this year's Dakar was Loeb (FRA) and co-driver Daniel Elena (MON).

Loeb gunned his Peugeot 3008DKR over the dunes to record the 11th Dakar stage win of his illustrious offroad career.

The Frenchman may be a privateer entry in this edition of the world's toughest race, but on second -stage evidence, he has what it takes to run with the best supported teams in the bivouac.

"In the dunes it's tough to keep on rhythm for the whole day, but we managed it well and things worked out for us," said Loeb.

Unusual twist

Unusual twist

In an unusual twist, Al Attiyah (QAT) and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) who opened the road in their Toyota Hilux slipped.

Al Attiyah used all of his sand racing experience to guide the pack through the dunes.

After suffering a puncture, the Qatari was caught by X-raid MINI JCW Team members Carlos Sainz (ESP) and co-driver Lucas Cruz (ESP). The Toyota and Mini rivals can both reflect on a steady day's work.

Esprit de corps

Esprit de corps

There was great evidence of esprit de corps out on the stage as 13-time winner Peterhansel got stuck in the dunes at the 109km point of the special stage. Peterhansel's fellow MINI John Cooper Works Buggy driver Cyril Despres (FRA) pulled over and gave his team-mate a tow - sacrificing his own chance of a stage win. The spirit of the Dakar is alive and well in Peru!

"Without Cyril's help we would still be there now and not here at the finish line," said Peterhansel.

De Villiers on top

De Villiers on top

Fourth place on the second stage was enough to elevate the Toyota Hilux crew of De Villiers (SA) and co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz (GER) to top spot in the car race in the early rankings.

There's another bumper day of racing due on Wednesday (January 9) at the 2019 Dakar Rally.

In addition to a 467-kilometre liaison route there will be 331 kilometres raced against the clock.

As the Dakar convoy moves from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa they will discover the dunes of Acari, a region as yet unvisited by the rally.

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Story first published: Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 10:41 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 9, 2019
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