Dakar Rally 2019 / Dunes claim Sainz’s suspension, title hopes

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Defending champion loses four hours as Peterhansel wins his 75th stage victory.

The third stage of the Dakar Rally from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa, Peru, kicked off with a 467km liaison and a 331km special. Today’s stage proved ruthless as navigational errors and foggy conditions plagued the race.

Here’s all you need to know.

– Defending champion Carlos Sainz of X-Raid Mini JCW Team suffered a blow as a navigational error led the team into a dune hole that resulted in significant suspension damage only 38km into the stage. The Spaniard’s hopes were diminished in reclaiming the title, after losing more than four hours to the race leaders.

– His teammate Stéphane Peterhansel commanded the stage win, reaching Arequipa with a time of 03h54”32”, beating Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah by 3″26″ as Jakub Przygonski Orlen X-Raid Team nabbed third. Peterhansel is in third place overall, 7’03″ behind race leader Al-Attiyah.

– Thirteen time Dakar champion, Peterhansel, revealed: ”It was a nice stage, with tough dunes and tricky navigation: hard-to-find waypoints in the valleys. It was a quintessentially Peruvian stage and the sign of things to come in the next few days.”

– Al-Attiyah fought back to take the overall lead from teammate Giniel De Villiers as the pair prepare to take on tomorrows marathon stage.

– Nine time World Rally champion and Red Bull privateer Sébastien Loeb proved just how cruicial navigational errors can be, conceding 42’55’ to Peterhansel.

– Loeb revealed: ”It was very foggy, but the problem was getting lost. We couldn’t find our way back, so we went around in circles and lost half an hour doing this. We lost big time, so we’ll start from far back tomorrow. “

– On the bikes, Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha Official Rally Team) took the stage three win with a time of 04h 07′ 42” ahead of Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna Factory Racing) and Kevin Benavides (Honda).

– Foggy conditions continued to plague the final leg of stage three as Sam Sunderland, the 2017 champion, battled fog and navigation challenges in the third stage nabbing third place in the overall standings.

– Sunderland reveals: “Definitely, it was difficult with the fog. For me, the road book was more or less good, but the problem was on the plateau, with the fog, you couldn’t see. This is the Dakar, it’s what it’s all about, tough times and up and downs, some carnage in the stage.”

– KTM’s reigning champion Matthias Walkner also got lost in the reduced visibility, dropping to eighth place overall, 21 minutes behind the lead.

– In the quad category, Spain’s Gerard Farres Quell took the stage win with a time of 04h 35′ 58’’, ahead of Chile’s Francisco Lopez Contardo, and Russia’s Sergei Kariakin, third.

– In the truck category, Andrey Karginov of Kamaz-Master clinched an impressive victory in Arequipa stretching the lead 12 minutes ahead of Federico Villagra. Third-placed Dmitry Sotnikov came ahead of overall leader Eduard Nikolayev, who lost 14 minutes in this stage.

– Today the marathon stage 4 begins from Arequipa to Tacna with 259km of liaison followed by 405km of racing. 

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