Dakar Stage 9: Sainz takes charge of stage and event

BY CHARL BOSCH - JANUARY 13, 2016

Double former World Rally Champion, and 2010 Dakar winner Carlos Sainz, restored Peugeot’s dominance at the head of this year’s event, by taking a scant ten second victory over Dutch Mini driver Erik van Loon in yesterday’s shortened marathon loop around Belen in Argentina.

With temperatures exceeding 40 degrees and fears that competitors might suffer even more negotiating the notorious Fiambala dunes, organisers decided to halt proceedings at the second checkpoint after only 90 of the planned 285 km.

The sudden stoppage, a puncture and getting stuck failed to deter Sainz from taking his second stage victory, with a surprised van Loon scoring his best finish of the rally so far.

Having broken Peugeot’s clean run of victories on stage eight, defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah appeared to have yet another win in the bag, only for his ten second lead at the first checkpoint to turn into fifth place at the end, two min four secs behind winner Sainz.

Another impressive showing saw former WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen cross the line third behind X-Raid Mini teammate van Loon, while Giniel de Villiers overcome a puncture mid-stage to clock the fourth fastest time in his Gazoo Racing Team South Africa Toyota Hilux.

Peugeot’s mixed fortunes however continued with Cyril Despres experiencing a quite stage to finish sixth, while Stephane Peterhansel ended seventh after losing over nine minutes and his overall lead due to two punctures and getting stuck

It also turned out be yet another frustrating day for former rally leader Sebastien Loeb. Having lost over an hour after rolling his Peugeot 34 km from the finish of stage eight, the Frenchman lost even more time after getting stuck on numerous occasions, eventually crossing the line 22nd and out of the top ten.

In the third Gazoo Racing Hilux, Yazeed Alrajhi fought back from missing the first waypoint to finish eighth, less than a minute ahead of the third Mini of Orlando Terranova, while an impressive showing saw South Africa’s Mark Corbett / Juan Mohr netting the tenth fastest time in their two-wheel drive Century CR5 buggy.

His victory sees Sainz replacing Peterhansel at the top of the standings with Al-Attiyah holding station in third ahead of Hirvonen and de Villiers.

Getting lost and suffering a flat tyre has resulted in Leeroy Poulter / Rob Howie dropping from fifth to seventh behind teammate Alrajhi / Timo Gottschalk, but well ahead of the Mini’s of van Loon and Nani Roma, with Despres rounding out the top ten.

In the motorcycle section, Australian Toby Price tightened his grip on first place by taking a seven minute victory over Honda’s Kevin Benavides, and fellow KTM rider Stefan Svitko.

The stage however turned out to be nightmare for Paulo Goncalves as the Honda rider suffered a damaged radiator, before ending the special on a tow rope 31 minutes down on Price.

Behind the top three, Pablo Quintanilla’s steady approach netted him fourth place but less than 20 seconds ahead of Dakar newcomer, Ricky Brabec.

The Honda mounted USA rider in turn finished 50 seconds ahead of KTM rookie Antoine Meo, with Yamaha’s Adrien van Beveren finishing seventh in front of Gerard Farres’ KTM, Yamaha teammate Helder Rodrigues, and Spaniard Armand Monleon on another KTM.

With his biggest rival now 34 minutes back in third, Price extends his overall lead to just shy of 29 minutes with Svitko inheriting second despite a one minute penalty for speeding.

Quintanilla maintains his fourth place overall with Meo relagating Benavides in fifth and Rodrigues keeping station in seventh. Brabec’s impressive showing sees him entering the top ten for the first time, ten minutes behind Farres, and five ahead of van Beveren.

The marathon stage continues today with a 278 km special from Belen to the bivouac in La Rioja.

 

STAGE 9 - OVERALL STANDINGS (CARS)

POSITION DRIVER CO-DRIVER NATIONALITY MAKE TIME
1. Carlos Sainz Lucas Cruz ESP / ESP Peugeot 28:39:24
2. Stephane Peterhansel Jean-Paul Cottret FRA / FRA Peugeot +00:07:03
3. Nasser Al-Attiyah Matthieu Baumel QAT / FRA Mini +00:14:38
4. Mikko Hirvonen Michel Perin FIN / FRA Mini +00:34:50
5. Giniel de Villiers Dirk von Zitzewitz RSA / GER Toyota +00:53:18
6. Yazeed Alrajhi Timo Gottschalk SAU / GER Toyota +01:01:48
7. Leeroy Poulter Rob Howie RSA / RSA Toyota +01:03:25
8. Erik van Loon Wouter Rosegaar NLD / NLD Mini +01:28:05
9. Nani Roma Alex Haro ESP / ESP Mini +01:42:55
10. Cyril Despres David Castera FRA / FRA Peugeot +01:51:30

 

STAGE 9 - OVERALL STANDINGS (BIKES)

POSITION RIDER NATIONALITY MAKE TIME
1. Toby Price AUS KTM 30:55:54
2. Stefan Svitko SVK KTM +00:28:59
3. Paulo Goncalves PRT Honda +00:34:01
4. Pablo Quintanilla CHL Husqvarna +00:38:41
5. Antoine Meo FRA KTM +00:42:08
6. Kevin Benavides ARG Honda +00:48:03
7. Helder Rodrigues PRT Yamaha +00:50:03
8. Gerard Farres ESP KTM +00:54:10
9. Ricky Brabec USA Honda +01:04:08
10. Adrien van Beveren FRA Yamaha +01:09:41

 

IMAGE sourced from channelnewsasia.com