Dakar Rally tak­ing more pris­on­ers

With stage six hav­ing been can­celled ow­ing to ex­treme weather, com­peti­tors are lick­ing their wounds with in­juries and ve­hi­cle dam­age thwart­ing their ef­forts

CityPress - - Sport -

The sixth stage of the Dakar Rally was can­celled yes­ter­day due to ex­treme weather con­di­tions in Bo­livia, with com­peti­tors head­ing for a rest day in La Paz be­fore re­sum­ing the race to­mor­row. Scouts sent out by or­gan­is­ers to check the 786km stage from the min­ing town of Oruro to La Paz re­ported steadily de­te­ri­o­rat­ing ter­rain.

Fri­day’s fifth stage had al­ready been cut short due to bad weather, with Bri­tain’s Sam Sun­der­land lead­ing the mo­tor­cy­cle stand­ings on a KTM and French Peu­geot driver Stephane Peter­hansel on top in the car cat­e­gory.

Mean­while, for­mer cham­pion Car­los Sainz of Spain has been forced out of the Dakar Rally af­ter his Peu­geot was badly dam­aged in an ac­ci­dent, his team said Fri­day.

Sainz, the 2010 Dakar win­ner, is the sec­ond top auto com­peti­tor to quit the race in South Amer­ica af­ter for­mer two-time win­ner Nasser Al At­tiyah of Qatar.

The Spa­niard lost con­trol of his ve­hi­cle, which rolled over just five kilo­me­tres from the fin­ish of Thurs­day’s gru­elling fourth stage be­tween San Sal­vador de Ju­juy in Ar­gen­tine and Tupiza in Bo­livia.

“It ap­pears that the nec­es­sary work can­not be car­ried out within the time al­lowed,” Peu­geot Sport said in a state­ment.

“I’m ob­vi­ously very dis­ap­pointed by this with­drawal,” said Sainz, also a two-time world rally cham­pion in 1990 and 1992. “I re­gret not be­ing able to chal­lenge.” Sainz had pro­vi­sion­ally been third in the stand­ings when mis­for­tune hit more than seven min­utes be­hind French race leader and Peu­geot team­mate Cyril De­spres.

The 54-year-old took to the road again af­ter two hours stranded, but fin­ished the spe­cial two hours and 19 min­utes be­hind De­spres, end­ing his hopes of win­ning the race for a sec­ond time.

The 521km fourth stage of the Dakar Rally – dubbed the most dif­fi­cult by or­gan­is­ers since the race moved to South Amer­ica – proved fa­tal for sev­eral key chal­lengers.

De­fend­ing mo­tor­cy­cle cham­pion Toby Price was forced out af­ter break­ing his left leg, join­ing two-time auto win­ner Al At­tiyah on the side­lines.

Aus­tralian rider Price suf­fered his race-end­ing in­jury when he tum­bled off his KTM mo­tor­bike af­ter 371km as the 9 000km race climbed into the dizzy­ing al­ti­tudes of the An­des.

The 29-year-old had to be air­lifted off the course, which hit 3 000 me­tres above sea level, and taken to hos­pi­tal.

Ear­lier in the day, Al At­tiyah was also forced to pull out af­ter his Toy­ota lost a wheel on Wed­nes­day’s third stage, a set­back that left him stranded for over an hour.

Fri­day’s fifth stage was from Tupiza to Oruro in Bo­livia with De­spres lead­ing the auto race and Joan Barreda in charge of the mo­tor event.

PHOTO: DAN ISTITENE / GETTY IMAGES

EAT MY DUST Yazeed Al Ra­jhi of Saudi Ara­bia and co-driver Timo Gottschalk of Ger­many in their Mini Cooper pass Marco Reinike of Chile as he stands with his 450 Rally Replica dur­ing stage four of the 2017 Dakar Rally

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