Dakar Rally chief Al-Attiyah wins penultimate stage

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Nasser Al-Attiyah gained the penultimate stage to increase his Dakar Rally result in practically an hour on Wednesday, and rider Toby Price completed together with his essential rivals to maintain the bike lead in Peru.

Once again, Al-Attiyah prevented the difficulty his different rivals discovered on the 313-kilometer, four-hour loop within the dunes round Pisco.

Stephane Peterhansel, probably the most profitable driver on this planet’s hardest rally, stop 26 kilometers in when co-driver David Castera damage his again. It’s the first time in 10 years that the 13-time champion has deserted the race, and solely the fourth time in 31 years. He was fourth general on the time.

Sebastien Loeb, third general, was gunning for a fifth stage win till his transmission broke about 60 kilometers from the end. Then his spare broke 40 kilometers out. He lost greater than an hour and remained third on the stage, however general fell two hours behind Al-Attiyah.

Cyril Despres took over the stage lead however flipped his automobile about 20 kilometers from the end. By the time help got here, he’d lost 39 minutes.

That left Al-Attiyah in a position to play it safe, and he gained the stage by 5 minutes from Nani Roma to increase his lead over within the common standings to 51 minutes. He appears set to rejoice a 3rd Dakar victory on Thursday after the quick drive into Lima.

“Every day we work very laborious to be quick and never make errors,” Al-Attiyah mentioned. “Me and Mathieu (Baumel, co-driver), the team, work very laborious to maintain our automobile match. The buggy is an effective automobile. We’ve adopted our technique from the start. We’ve been main since stage three and increase the (hole) day by day. We’re fairly blissful.”

The bike drama began before the stage. British rider Sam Sunderland, the 2017 champion in title rivalry at fourth, was penalized an hour. Argentine rider Kevin Benavides, within the high 10, was penalized three hours. Then Adrien van Beveren, fifth general, suffered a damaged engine with 16 kilometers to go and was out.

That left a transparent high three of Price, Pablo Quintanilla, and defending champion Matthias Walkner, all inside six minutes of one another. But no one attacked. From a mass begin, they rode collectively and completed collectively — behind stage winner Michael Metge of Argentina — and retained their general positions.

Walkner mentioned there was chaos when the first rider acquired lost, and the race leaders adopted him. Nobody then wished to take a threat.

“It appeared a simple day, nevertheless it wasn’t. There was extra to lose on a day like this than to win, so I just tried to stick with the highest guys in entrance and do nothing silly,” Walkner mentioned. “The likelihood for the podium is sort of good.”

Price was content material. The 2016 champion is nursing a sore proper wrist.

“I do know it’s going to be very laborious tomorrow, and I’ll give it my finest,” Price mentioned. “I do know I’m prone to be on the rostrum tomorrow, and it’s superb, however I need to win.”

Quintanilla, solely a minute behind Price, promised to “give it my 100 % to win the race” for his first Dakar title.

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