Dakar 2020: Stephane Peterhansel and Pablo Quintanilla claim top spot in stage 11
Stephane Peterhansel is engaged in a close fight against Naser Al-Attiyah for the second position; Bikes’ leader Ricky Brabec finishes the stage ninth
The 2020 Dakar nears its end, and the ones that survived the two-week long batter, enter the last stage today. The 10th stage of the rally was cut short due to concern with bad weather which meant Monster Energy Honda’s Joan Barreda Bort won the stage for the bikes, with Carlos Sainz taking a comfortable win in the same stage. In the 11th stage however, Stephane ‘Mr.Dakar’ Peterhansel took the lead over Nasser Al Attiyah and Sainz. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla was being tailed by KTM’s Mathias Walkner, but finished the stage only nine seconds ahead.
The 744km marathon stage cost overall leader Carlos Sainz some time. He has been leading the rally since stage three and has gained a comfortable 18-minute lead over second placed Nasser Al-Attiyah. Inspite of losing over 8 minutes in stage 11, Sainz still has a cushion of 10 minutes heading into stage 12 and the master of dunes is well on course to claim his third Dakar victory.
Meanwhile, second placed Al-Attiyah has won atleast one stage in 12 consecutive Dakars and looks like this streak can be broken this year in Saudi Arabia as the dunes were harder packed than expected because of recent rainfall. Consequently, Al-Attiyah wasn’t as comfortable as he would have expected to be.
13-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel won his 80th stage win yesterday in his JCW rally-spec Mini and is engaged in a close fight with Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Al-Attiyah for the second place. In fact, Al-Attiyah is leading only by six seconds in the overall rankings over Peterhansel finishing stage 11 in the second place followed by Sainz in the third.
Monster Energy Honda Team has been dominating the Dakar 2020 and is all set to break KTM’s streak in the grueling rally. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory racing’s Pablo Quintanilla managed to build a lead in the beginning of the 744km stage that started from Shubaytah and concluded at Haradh. KTM rider Mathias Walkner finished second, followed by teammate Luciano Benavides. Title defender Toby Price finished at the fifth spot while title contender Ricky Brabec finished at the ninth spot.
Sherco TVS Rally factory rider Adrien Metge finished the stage at the 16th position and now ranks 12th in the overall rankings. Teammate Harith Noah finished at the 25th spot but is not competing for the title after his stage 3 incident.
After stage 11, Brabec leads the rally in the overall standing, followed by Pablo at second and Toby price at the third spot. Today, the rally moves from Haradh to Qiddiya, a 429km stage with a 167km special to conclude the 42nd Dakar rally.
Reigning Dakar champion Rafale Sonik, who has finished in the top three only on a few occassions this year won his first stage at Dakar 2020 yesterday. The 53 year old Polish driver was three minutes faster than Ignacio Casale who has a comfortable lead of over one hour over Sonik in the overall rankings. Third placed (overall) Frenchman Simon Vitse finished stage 11 in the fifth position but looks like he’s on his way to secure the runners up position in Saudi Arabia behind Casale.
The enormous stage 11 proved to be a sand trap for several trucks. Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco’s truck piloted by a Dutch crew overturned after attempting to go past a severely uneven stretch of the desert making them drop down to the 22nd place in the stage. Meanwhile Siarhei Viazovich’s truck was the only non-Kamaz vehicle this year to have won a stage, although his win came all the way back in the second stage about ten days ago. However, he’s still locked in a respectable third podium position overall with a comfortable lead of one hour ahead of Dmitry Sotnikov who’s piloting a Kamaz-Master. Winning the stage 11 was none other than Andrey Karginov, who’s now championed most stages of Dakar 2020 in this Kamaz. Teammates Dmitry Sotnikov and Anton Shibalev followed in the second and third positions respectively.