De Vil­liers clinches sec­ond stage; Alonso loses wheel

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Neom, Saudi Ara­bia - South African driver Giniel De Vil­liers won the sec­ond stage of the Dakar Rally on Mon­day while for­mer For­mula One world cham­pion Fer­nando Alonso dropped two and a half hours af­ter los­ing a wheel.

De Vil­liers, who lost 23 min­utes when he fin­ished 14th in Sun­day's open­ing stage, bounced back strongly over the 401km route, of which 367 were a spe­cial be­tween Al Wajh and Neom.

Many driv­ers had nav­i­ga­tional prob­lems and De Vil­liers took ad­van­tage of a mis­take by long time stage leader Yazeed al Ra­jhi to guide his Toy­ota home in 3hrs 37mins 20secs.

The 47 year old crossed the line 3mins 57secs ahead of Or­lando Terranova who now heads the over­all stand­ings in his Mini.

The Ar­gen­tinian, who was sixth in the open­ing stage, is al­most five min­utes ahead of fel­low Mini driver Car­los Sainz.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Nasser al At­tiyah came in fifth on stage two and is six min­utes off the lead while 13-time cham­pion Stephane Peter­hansel al­ready trails by 13 min­utes.

Alonso suf­fered his first ma­jor prob­lem in his first Dakar when he ground to a halt with a dam­aged wheel.

He was run­ning fourth af­ter 100km of the spe­cial when the prob­lem oc­curred. The Spa­niard had no op­tion but to wait for his as­sis­tance team be­fore he was able to re­sume. How­ever, his chances of reach­ing the podium al­ready look un­likely.

On the mo­tor­cy­cles, Ross Branch won his first stage on the Dakar af­ter a per­fectly con­trolled day's rid­ing. The Botswanan fin­ished 1min 24secs ahead of 2017 win­ner Sam Sun­der­land who now leads the bikes cat­e­gory, 1min 18secs ahead of Pablo Quin­tanilla.

On Tues­day, the rally heads out on a 489km round trip which starts and ends in Neom.


Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing's Giniel de Vil­liers (right) and his Span­ish co-driver Alex Haro Bravo af­ter the end of sec­ond stage ac­tion on Mon­day

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