Dakar finish in sight


After more than 7,000 km between the dunes of Saudi Arabia, the end of the Dakar off-road rally is in sight and an Audi’s nose is the closest to an overall victory.

Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz of Team Audi Sport currently enjoy a lead of 01:26:06 on the overall time scale after finishing Thursday’s stage in third place.

However, it was a nightmare day for Sebastien Loeb.

The Frenchman blew into Sainz’s neck in the run-up to the stage, but a mechanical setback meant that he was stranded in the desert for more than an hour.

“The day started in the worst possible way when we hit a very large rock. Some of the other participants were also aware of it, but our damage was significantly more serious,” said Loeb.

However, it was an excellent two-wheeled day for Botswana’s Ross Branch.

The 37-year-old star, who is participating in his sixth Dakar rally, won the motorcycle stage in a time of 04:51:57 and he is on the trail of Ricky Brabec on the overall time scale.

Results (11th shift):

  1. Guerlain Chicherit and Alex Winocq (Overdrive Racing): 04:43:00
  2. Guillaume de Mevius and Xavier Panseri (Overdrive Racing): 04:48:32
  3. Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz (Team Audi Sport): 04:48:35
  4. Mattias Ekstrom and Emil Bergkvist (Team Audi Sport): 04:52:46
  5. Saood Variawa and Francois Cazalet (Toyota Gazoo Racing): 04:55:37
  6. Christian Lavielle and Valentin Sarreaud (MD Rallye Sport): 04:58:06
  7. Juan Cruz Yacopini and Daniel Oliveras Carreras (Overdrive Racing): 04:58:23
  8. Vaidotas Zala and Paulo Fiuza (X-Raid Arijus): 04:58:38
  9. Nani Roma and Alex Haro Bravo (Ford M-Sport): 05:00:01
  10. Guy Botterill and Brett Cummings (Toyota Gazoo Racing): 05:05:40

Overall timing:

  1. Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz: 46:24:47
  2. Guillaume de Mevius and Xavier Panseri: 47:50:53
  3. Sebastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin: 48:00:49
  4. Guerlain Chicherit and Alex Winocq: 48:06:07
  5. Martin Prokop and Viktory Chytka: 48:41:34
  6. Guy Botterill and Brett Cummings: 49:05:18
  7. Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy: 49:14:56
  8. Benediktas Vanagas and Kuldar Sikk: 49:25:23
  9. Lucas Moraes and Armand Monleon: 49:30:29
  10. Mathieu Serradori and Loic Minaudier: 49:33:04