AL ULA, Saudia Arabia — Nasser Al-Attiyah took a small chunk out of 13-time champion Stéphane Peterhansel’s now 17-minute lead in the final days of the Dakar Rally.
Ahead of Thursday’s penultimate stage, Al-Attiyah kept his hopes alive by taking 49 seconds off Peterhansel’s overall lead on the 10th stage, a 342kilometre timed special stage.
But the event remains wide open with 464km awaiting the remaining field from Al Ula to Yanbu. Al-Attiyah warned his rival: “The key to this Dakar will be tomorrow. It’s a really, really difficult stage.”
The rival pair were joined in the top five by defending champion Carlos Sainz, who remains in third place overall but more than an hour out of contention. And Sainz said: “The first part of the stage had very tricky navigation and we lost quite a bit of time. After that, things got better but it was still not easy because of all the dust. We had to get past six or seven cars. It wasn’t easy.”
Kuba Przygoński currently lies in fourth overall, which would match his best-ever Dakar finish if he can hold onto it to the finishing line.
Ahead of the marathon stage, he said: “We don’t know exactly what to expect tomorrow but we know it will be hard.”
In the bike class, Kevin Benavides leads by just 51 seconds from Ricky Brabec, who won Wednesday’s stage.
Yazeed Al-Rajhi triumphed in the truck class and Sergey Karyakin topped the lightweight vehicle class.