Carlos Sainz, new Dakar leader in Peterhansel's 50th stage victory


The Spanish driver Carlos Sainz (Audi) has taken the lead in the Dakar Rally car category in the second stage, a 463-kilometre special between Al Henakiyah and Al Duwadimi and in which the Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel (Audi) has won. ), which has achieved its 50th partial victory in the Saudi raid.

The Madrid native, three-time Dakar champion (2010, 2018 and 2020), needed to hunt down the Belgian Guillaume de Mevius (Toyota), leader after winning the first day and who opened the track, and he did it around kilometer 200. Not only that, but which increased the pace to leave him almost eight minutes behind in the overall standings (7:44).

Sainz entered the finish line eighth, 17:15 behind the winner, Stéphane Peterhansel, who celebrated his 50th stage victory in the Dakar Rally, thus equaling Ari Vatanen, who until now held the record for the highest number of scratches. 'Monsieur Dakar' held off his compatriot Sébastien Loeb (Prodrive) to finish the stage 29 seconds ahead.

Now, Sainz has a lead of 1:51 over the second place finisher, the Saudi Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Toyota) and 4:17 over Loeb, who closes the provisional podium of the race on all four wheels. The Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah (Prodrive) is 12:16 behind the Spaniard and Peterhansel, 13:16.

In motorcycles, the Chilean Nacho Cornejo (Honda) took the stage victory ahead of the Argentine Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna), who entered the finish line almost six minutes behind the winner (5:59), and his compatriot Pablo Quintanilla (Honda ), at 6:12.

However, he could not take the two-wheel lead from Botswana Ross Branch, eleventh this Sunday and who leads the overall standings with 2:55 ahead of Cornejo himself and 7:15 over the American Ricky Brabec (Honda).

The bad news for the Spanish representation was the abandonment of Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco). The man from Salamanca, who was seventh in the general motorcycle classification, was stopped at kilometer 15 due to a breakdown of his motorcycle, and despite all attempts to repair it he was forced to abandon the race. With this, he follows in the footsteps of his compatriot Tosha Schareina, who also had to retire on Saturday.