De Villiers takes the lead

There is only one way to predict who the winner of the annual Dakar Rally Raid will be, and that is to wait until the fact lady finally sings. The second stage today between Pisco and San Juan de Marcona the included a 342 special showed that the Dakar is one of those events that have teeth and bites from the start. After the euforia of yesterday’s opening “warm-up” stage, it was a completely different story today.

                         Giniel de Villiers

The dominant competitors yesterday, Carlos Sainz, X-Raid Mini Buggy, Nasser Al-Attiyah, Toyota Gazoo Racing Hi-Lux, and Jacub Przygonski, also in a Mini, found themselves playing second fiddle to a revitalised Sebastien Loeb in a privately entered PH Peugeot, Nani Roma in a X-Raid Mini, Bernard ten Brinke in a Toyota Gazoo Racing Hi-Lux and Giniel de Villiers in another Toyota Gazoo Racing Hi-Lux.

While it is still too early to say, it would come as no surprise if the Dakar, as has been the case on many occasions in the past turns out to be a battle between the Toyota’s and Mini’s, while the Peugeot could create a turn up for the books.

Loeb started the day in top form and showed why he was the master of world rallying by winning five of the eight sections. He had no problems holding off the Toyota Gazoo Racing Hi-Lux of the solidily performing Bernard ten Brinke and Nani Roma in a Mini.

Sebastien Loeb

The day did not start so good for Carlos Sainz in the Mini Buggy who lost 20 minutes when he had to stop due to mechanical problems that he had to sort out. Nasser Al-Attiyah in the other Toyota Gazoo Racing Hi-Lux also lost time. With some 42 kilometres too go before the end of the stage , Loeb was leading Al-Attiyah by seven minites and Sainz by 15 minutes.

At the end of the stage Sébastien Loeb won his first special on the Dakar 2019, and his 11th in total on the rally. The Peugeot driver just managed to hold off Nani Roma over the final few kilometres, finishing merely 8 seconds in front of the Spaniard

However, Giniel de Villiers (who finished 4th) is the day’s big winner, because the Toyota driver has taken command in the general standings in front of his Dutch rival.

Top nine at the end of day two

G. DE VILLIERS04:32:45
2309B. TEN BRINKE0:00:28
3307N. ROMA0:00:42
4314Y. AL RAJHI0:00:50
5306S. LOEB0:01:56
6300C. SAINZ0:02:28
7312H. HUNT0:02:38
8301N. AL-ATTIYAH0:03:26
9308C. DESPRES0:03:28

Stéphane Peterhansel  long halt in the first zone of dunes has proved to be costly as he finishes 15 minutes behind the stage winner. Nasser Al-Attiyah also had a day to forget, completing the special in provisional 11th place, 7’37’’ behind the victor.

  • 09:59 Terranova taken to hospital

    Orlando Terranova is currently being looked after by the medical team. The Mini driver is in trouble with back pain and is being transferred to hospital in Ica. The Argentinean will not be around to see the finish of his 13th Dakar.

    More to follow