Dakar 2018, Stage 3: Al-Attiyah wins, drama for Hirvonen

Toyota driver Nasser Al-Attiyah picked up his second stage win of the 2018 Dakar Rally, as Mikko Hirvonen joined his fellow X-raid Mini buggy drivers in dropping out of contention.Hirvonen was the highest-profile entrant to hit trouble in the 296km timed special of the Pisco–San Juan de Marcona stage, as the Finn was forced to stop for repairs short of halfway into the run and gave up over an hour and a half.


Nasser Al_Attiyah (Image Motorsport.com)

The time losses incurred by Hirvonen mean the 2018 Dakar will yield no marquee result for X-raid’s all-new two-wheel-drive challenger, after the two other Mini buggies – those of Bryce Menzies and Yazeed Al-Rajhi – suffered accidents on Sunday.

With the fight for rally honours now almost certainly down to the Peugeot and Toyota camps, Al-Attiyah scored an emphatic stage win for the latter.

The Qatari had dropped from first to fifth overall on Sunday, having to open the road and with co-driver Matthieu Baumel unwell, but bounced back the day after, leading the way at every waypoint but the first.

He headed nearest rival Stephane Peterhansel of Peugeot by four minutes at the finish line, and has moved up to third in the general classification.

Second place on the stage has allowed defending champion Peterhansel to vault into first overall, overhauling teammate and erstwhile leader Cyril Despres, who finished almost eight minutes down on Al-Attiyah.

Slotting in between the pair in the stage results was the Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi of Carlos Sainz, while the fourth Peugeot works driver – Sebastien Loeb – ended the run narrowly behind Despres.

Toyota’s Giniel de Villiers was sixth on the stage and has slipped behind his Qatari teammate Al-Attiyah, as well as Loeb, in the general classification.

He remains ahead of Sainz, who makes up the overall top six with a 14m27s deficit to rally leader Peterhansel.

Source: Story by Motorsport.com

Top ten provisional stage times after stage 3:

1 301 TOYOTA GAZOO RACING SA 03h 09′ 08”
2 300 TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL 03h 13′ 13” + 00h 04′ 05”
3 303 TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL 03h 15′ 15” + 00h 06′ 07”
4 308 TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL 03h 16′ 51” + 00h 07′ 43”
5 306 TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL 03h 17′ 42” + 00h 08′ 34”
6 304 TOYOTA GAZOO RACING SA 03h 19′ 19” + 00h 10′ 11”
7 309 TOYOTA GAZOO RACING SA 03h 27′ 15” + 00h 18′ 07”
8 311 MP-SPORTS 03h 28′ 04” + 00h 18′ 56”
9 312 X-RAID TEAM 03h 31′ 50” + 00h 22′ 42”
10 318 OVERDRIVE TOYOTA 03h 32′ 09” + 00h 23′ 01”