Motorsport / Dakar Rally / Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah cut deficit to Sainz ahead of last stage

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Dakar Rally car battle down to wire as defending bike champion Price now third.

Stéphane Peterhansel and Nasser Al-Attiyah cut down Carlos Sainz‘s overall car lead to just over 10 minutes ahead of the final 2020 Dakar Rally stage on Friday as defending bike champion Toby Price moved into third place. Here is all you need to know:

– Two-time winner Sainz had carved out a healthy 18m 10s lead over Qatari Al-Attiyah and 18m 26s over Frenchman Peterhansel, but his two main rivals have 10 Dakar titles between them and they made sure the inaugural Saudi Arabian edition goes down to the wire.

– Thirteen-time Dakar bike and car champion Peterhansel edged out Toyota driver Al-Attiyah by 10 seconds over the 744km stage 11 from Shubaytah to Haradh with Sainz 8m 3s behind Peterhansel in his MINI Buggy to set up a grandstand finish on Friday.

– Peterhansel, 54, admitted: “We pushed all day long and we gained some time, but not enough. Now, if Carlos can bring it home, it’ll be great for the team.”

– Sainz, 57, declared: “It’s good to have put the marathon stage behind us. Just one day to go. I’ll keep an eye on the gaps and stay focused for tomorrow.”

– Poland’s Kuba Przygonski finished fifth on the day with 2009 winner Giniel de Villiers behind him in sixth as the South African lies fifth overall ahead of the final stage.

– In the bikes, 2018 champion Matthias Walkner finished nine seconds behind stage winner Pablo Quintanilla of Chile to move up to fourth in the standings.

– Argentine Luciano Benavides was third on Thursday with Australian Price’s fifth-placed finish elevating him to third overall as Spaniard Joan Barreda slipped back.

– Price, 32, explained: “Honda just needs to protect their lead. The guys are riding fast and riding smart. We’re doing our best, we’re trying to keep in the fight.”

– Defending SxS champion Chaleco Lopez was back in the groove as he put his foot down to win the stage by 10m 53s with American Blade Hildebrand back in 18th as compatriot Mitch Guthrie Jr. suffered a mechanical, but American Casey Currie still holds a big overall lead.

– Russian Andrey Karginov extended his overall truck lead to 39m 33s over Team Kamaz Master colleague Anton Shibalov with a second Dakar title in his sights.

– Chilean Ignacio Cásale finished second behind Pole Rafal Sonik to increase his overall quad lead to 21m 16s over Frenchman Simon Vitse as he seeks a third title.

– Casale, 32, said: “This was an excellent stage for me. The objective was to protect the lead that I still have.”

– Friday’s stage 12 finale sees the competitors race hard from Haradh to Qiddiya with 374km of special as the world’s toughest rally-raid race comes to a thrilling end.

Top three overall results in each category

1. Carlos Sainz (ESP)/Lucas Cruz (ESP) MINI Buggy 41h37m51s
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota +10m17s
3. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) MINI Buggy +10m23s

1. Ricky Brabec (USA) Honda 38h33m28s
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna +13m56s
3. Toby Price (AUT) KTM +22m34s

1. Andrey Karginov (RUS) Kamaz 45h04m55s
2. Anton Shibalov (RUS) Kamaz +39m33s
3. Siarhei Viazovich (BLR) Maz +01h52m14s

1. Casey Currie (USA)/Sean Berriman (USA) Can-Am 51h39m32s
2. Sergei Kariakin (RUS)/Anton Vlasiuk (RUS) Can-Am +45m33s
3. Chaleco Lopez (CHI)/Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre (CHI) Can-Am +57m32s

1. Ignacio Casale (CHI) Yamaha 50h07m07s
2. Simon Vitse (FRA) Yamaha +21m16s
3. Rafal Sonik (POL) Yamaha +01h03m00s

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