Dakar 2019, Stage 3: Peterhansel fastest, disaster for Sainz, Al-Attiyah takes lead

By: Jamie Klein

Stephane Peterhansel secured his first stage win of the 2019 Dakar Rally on Wednesday, while the victory hopes of his X-raid Mini teammate Carlos Sainz were practically dashed.Recovering from dropping 20 minutes on Tuesday after making a ‘rookie error’, 13-time Dakar champion Peterhansel took command of Wednesday’s 331km San Juan de Marcona-Arequipa stage virtually from the start.

After crossing the second waypoint tied with Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, Peterhansel steadily pulled clear of the pack over the remainder of the stage, ultimately winning by 3m26s over his Qatari rival.

As a result, he climbed from 13th place in the overall standings to third overall.

It had been another Toyota driver, Giniel de Villers, that led after Tuesday’s stage, but the South African stopped 172km into the stage and had yet to finish at the time of publishing.

Al-Attiyah now leads overall by 6m48s over the best of the X-raid Mini entries, the 4×4 of Yazeed Al-Rajhi, who was fourth on the stage behind another 4×4 user, Kuba Przygonski.

Behind Peterhansel’s Mini buggy, Nani Roma lies fourth overall after dropping 18 minutes on Wednesday’s stage, followed by Przygonski.

Stage 2 winner Sebastien Loeb endured a much tougher time opening the road in his PH Sport-run Peugeot, dropping 42 minutes to countryman Peterhansel and tumbling to eighth overall.

But the worst drama of the day befell X-raid Mini’s Sainz, whose hopes of defending his 2018 title evaporated when he broke his buggy’s front-left suspension just 39km into the stage, almost losing a wheel.

The Spaniard was stopped for 3 hours and 15 minutes, and is set to drop a long way down the leaderboard.

Cyrill Despres, the other Mini buggy driver, lies sixth overall, followed by Toyota’s Bernhard ten Brinke, who conceded more than half an hour to the leaders having started the day second behind de Villiers.

Top ten provisional at end of stage three

Pos Select Bib Crew Gap
1 301 N. AL-ATTIYAH 08:34:08
2 314 Y. AL RAJHI 0:06:48
3 304 S. PETERHANSEL 0:07:03
4 307 N. ROMA 0:12:02
5 303 J. PRZYGONSKI 0:13:45
6 308 C. DESPRES 0:24:40
7 309 B. TEN BRINKE 0:25:21
8 306 S. LOEB 0:37:59
9 327 : Dakar.com 0:42:56
10 330 B. VANAGAS 0:49:20

Source: Motorsport.com/ Dakar.com  Images