Carlos Sainz loses ten minutes with Loeb but retains the lead of the Dakar


The French driver Sébastien Loeb (Prodrive) has won this Sunday the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally, a 483-kilometre special between Riyadh and Al Duwadimi, and has shaved ten minutes off the Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Audi), who retains the lead in the car category, while the Chilean Nacho Cornejo (Honda) has won in motorcycles.

The Frenchman, winner of the 48-hour time trial, won again this Sunday to sign his 26th partial victory in the toughest raid in the world, the third in this edition. All in a day in which the Swede Mattias Ekström (Audi) was left for almost four hours and was left without options due to a suspension failure.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Nani Roma (Ford), winner of the Dakar in motorcycles in 2004 and in cars in 2014, was forced to abandon in the middle of the fight to enter the 'Top 10' of the four-wheeled general classification.
suffer a mechanical problem at kilometer 24 of the special.

Thus, the fight for the car title is limited to Loeb and Sainz, who entered the finish line fourth, 10:31 behind the Frenchman after a puncture took its toll. Even so, the Madrid native and his co-driver Lucas Cruz still have a 19-minute lead on the nine-time world rally champion with five days of competition remaining.

The podium of the day was completed by the Brazilian Lucas Moraes (Toyota), who crossed the finish line at 7:06 behind Loeb's time, and the Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah (Prodrive), at 9:47.

In the motorcycle category, the Chilean Nacho Cornejo (Honda) won his third stage victory in this edition by beating the Argentines Kevin Benavides (KTM), in 32 seconds, and Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna), in 3:12 , which sealed the South American triplet.

In the general classification, Cornejo displaces the Frenchman Adrien van Beveren (Honda) from the provisional podium, who finished the day ninth. The lead remains in the hands of the American Ricky Brabec (Honda), who leads with a second lead over the Botswanan Ross Branch (Hero).