Al-At­tiyah ex­tends Dakar lead as Loeb ‘dodges bul­let’ to take stage

The Borneo Post - - SPORT -

SAN JUAN DE MAR­CONA, Peru: Qatar’s Nasser al-At­tiyah closed in on a third Dakar Rally ti­tle on Sun­day de­spite nine-time world rally cham­pion Se­bastien Loeb tak­ing the race’s sixth stage hon­ours on the same stretch of sand where his 2018 chal­lenge per­ished.

Al-At­tiyah, the Dakar cham­pion in 2011 and 2015, has an over­all lead of 37min 43sec af­ter tak­ing his fac­tory Toyota to sec­ond place on Sun­day’s run from Are­quipa to San Juan de Mar­cona.

“We did a great job all day long, but we made a blun­der in the fi­nal 15 kilo­me­tres,” said al-At­tiyah as he re­flected on a nav­i­ga­tional er­ror when he missed a way­point.

“We went down the wrong val­ley, and then it took us a long time to back­track and get back on the right track. It cost us sev­eral min­utes, but I’m still happy with our po­si­tion.”

Loeb, be­hind the wheel of a pri­vate en­try Peu­geot, claimed his third stage win of this year’s Dakar and 13th of his ca­reer af­ter reach­ing the fin­ish more than two min­utes ahead of the 48-year- old Qatari.

French driver Loeb also snatched sec­ond place in the over­all stand­ings from 13- time cham­pion Stephane Peter­hansel who fin­ished al­most 12 min­utes be­hind al-At­tiyah and the best part of 19 min­utes back from Loeb.

“It went well, but we made mis­takes. We saw Nasser make the same blun­der, so we both lost two min­utes,” said Loeb, who was re­lieved to sur­vive the same run from Are­quipa to San Juan de Mar­cona where he was forced to re­tire last year. — AFP

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