Dakar Stage 3: Loeb makes it two from two


Proving that his maiden Dakar stage victory on Monday was no fluke, nine-time World Rally Championship (WRC) champion Sebastien Loeb stamped his authority on this year’s event by leading home Peugeot teammate Carlos Sainz in yesterday’s 314 km stage three from Termas De Rio Hondo to Jujuy.

With wet weather again playing a hand in the results, Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena extended their lead in the overall rankings to five min 03 sec after taking the stage win by a mere one min 23 over Sainz and navigator Lucas Cruz.

Having suffered engine problems on the previous stage that relegated him to 14th overall, 2010 event winner and double former WRC champion Sainz lead home the Mini of reigning champion Nasser Al-Attiyah, with South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers crossing the line two min 02 secs behind Loeb in fourth.

Mini debutant Mikko Hirvonen experienced yet another impressive day to finish fifth ahead of the third works Peugeot of 11-times winner Stephane Peterhansel, and the second South African entered Hilux of Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie.

In the overall standings, Loeb’s victory sees him now leading de Villiers by five min 03 secs with Peterhansel dropping to third, a further 12 secs behind the Toyota. Hirvonen maintains fourth with Al-Attiyah jumping to fifth at the expense of Poulter and the two Overdrive-run Hiluxs of Dutchman Bernhard ten Brinke, and Russian Vladimir Vasilyev.

A quite day has seen former five time motorcycle winner Cyril Despres dropping to ninth with the fourth Peugeot 2008 DKR, just over two min ahead of teammate Sainz.

A 39th place finish has seen Century CR5 crew Colin Matthews / Rodney Burke moving up to 35th in the overall standings, one place behind teammates Mark Corbett / Juan Mohr, who could only manage the 47th fastest time.

Having stated the day 88th, a 48th place finish has seen Sean Reitz and Riaan Greyling moving up 18 positions in their Red Line Racing Nissan Navara.

In the motorcycle section, Argentine newcomer Kevin Benavides sprung a surprise by taking victory ahead of Honda’s Paulo Goncalves, and former French motocross champion Antoine Meo.

A fourth place together with problems for early leader Toby Price, has left Slovakian KTM rider Stefan Svitko  as the new overall leader, with Benavides moving up to second ahead of Honda teammates Joan Barreda and Goncalves.

French Sherco rider Alain Duclos dropped to fifth a mere two seconds in front of factory KTM rider Matthias Walkner, with the remainder of the top ten consisting of Husqvarna teammates Pablo Quintanilla and Ruben Faria, Price and the second Sherco of Juan Pedrero.

Today’s stage will see competitors tackle a 429 km loop starting and finishing in Jujuy.



1. Sebastien Loeb Daniel Elena FRA / MON Peugeot 06:01:42
2. Giniel de Villiers Dirk von Zitzewitz RSA / GER Toyota +00:05:03
3. Stephane Peterhansel Jean-Paul Cottret FRA / FRA Peugeot +00:05:15
4. Mikko Hirvonen Michel Perin FIN / FRA Mini +00:05:52
5. Nasser Al-Attiyah Matthieu Baumel QAT / FRA Mini +00:06:39
6. Leeroy Poulter Rob Howie RSA / RSA Toyota +00:06:43
7. Bernhard ten Brinke Tom Colsoul NLD / NLD Toyota +00:08:42
8. Vladimir Vasilyev Konstantin Zhiltsov RUS / RUS Toyota +00:09:55
9. Cyril Despres David Castera FRA / FRA Peugeot +00:10:47
10. Carlos Sainz Lucas Cruz ESP / ESP Peugeot +00:12:20



1. Stefan Svitko SVK KTM 06:27:04
2. Kevin Benavides ARG Honda +00:00:34
3. Joan Barreda ESP Honda +00:00:46
4. Paulo Goncalves POR Honda +00:00:54
5. Alain Duclos FRA Sherco +00:00:56
6. Matthias Walkner AUT KTM +00:01:33
7. Pablo Quintanilla CHL Husqvarna +00:03:24
8. Ruben Faria PRT Husqvarna +00:03:43
9. Toby Price AUS KTM +00:04:49
10. Juan Pedrero ESP Sherco +00:06:19


IMAGE sourced from autosport.com