UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — French Stephane Peterhansel regained his smile after scoring on Wednesday the fourth stage of the car category in the Dakar Desert Rally between the cities of Neum and Al-Ola in Saudi Arabia, which is hosting the event for the first time in the Asian continent, while Qatari champion Nasser Al-Attiyah reduced the difference with the Spanish leader Carlos Sainz.
Peterhansel finished the nickname “Mr. Dakar”, due to his coronation 7 times in cars and 6 times before him in bicycles, the stage of 672 km (including 453 km of speed stage) with a time of 4 hours and 4:34 minutes, achieving his first stage in 2020.
The 54-year-old Minnie driver beat Al Attiyah (Toyota) by 2:26 minutes, and his Spanish teammate Carlos Sainz by 7:18 minutes.
Peterhansel rose to third in the overall standings, 11:42 minutes behind the lead, while Al-Attiyah, who searched for his fourth title in this rally after 2011, 2015 and 2019, reduced the difference with leader Sainz crowned in 2010 and 2018 to 3:03 minutes.
The beginning of the stage was great for Peterhansel, but he faced navigation problems at the end. The connection with his new Portuguese navigator, Paolo Fuse, improved because of the language barrier. “Communication was calm and accurate with my navigation, from best to best.”
“After the difficult first days, things got better. It’s nice to win the stage,” said the driver, who faced problems at the start of the rally, to succeed in achieving at least one stage in three different continents of the rally, as did the South African Jennyel de Villiers (Toyota) before Two days.
“It was not a smooth stage … the gravel was more than we expected, and we suffered a lot in the last sixty kilometers,” added the Frenchman, who also suffered a hole in one of his tires.
And the French expressed his admiration for the first edition in Saudi Arabia, “This new Dakar is wonderful. It contains all the ingredients. Wonderful landscapes, navigation full of surprises and many difficulties that cannot be counted.”
A “harsh version” of the gift –
Al-Attiyah, who was crowned in 2011, 2015 and 2019, avoided navigation problems, and told the official rally site, “We have done a great job, but it was not an easy task, we tried to attack towards the end of the stage, but it is difficult. Happy that tomorrow tomorrow may include sand dunes in the path … We tried to take care of By car, because the track is still long, it’s a harsh version of the Dakar Rally, and it changed my driving style to be on the safe side when needed. ”
The solution of the Saudi exceeded Al-Rajhi fourth by a difference of 11:30 minutes from the lead, so he remained fourth in the overall standings by a difference of 23:10 minutes from Sainz, while his compatriot Yasser Hamad bin Saeedan came in eighteenth place by a difference of more than half an hour by Peterhansel to become tenth in the ranking Year.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso (Toyota), twice world champion in Formula One, continued his education in the desert rallies. After his fifth on Tuesday, he finished Wednesday in the thirteenth place with a difference of 26:21 minutes from Peterhansel and he is ranked twenty in the overall ranking.
Sunderland penalty –
In the bicycle category, the English champion Sam Sunderland (KTM) 2017 champion was the first to pass the arrival line, but the stage was scored by Chilean Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) after Sunderland was subjected to a 5-minute penalty that put him back to eighth.
After finishing seventh on Wednesday, American Ricky Brabeck (Honda) kept the lead in the overall standings, 2:30 minutes from Argentine teammate Kevin Benavides, and Cornejo became third by 8:31 minutes from the top, while Australian Toby Price (KTM), holder of the title, is fourth. In the overall standings 12:09 minutes ahead of Brabeck after finishing sixth in the fourth stage.
“The first part was very fast, so I caught Bracky after 220 or 240 kilometers. We walked together after that, and we were exchanging progress. I think we did a good job, it was a physical and mental requirement. This is a stage we will remember because some places were so rocky that we thought we were,” Cornejo said. We are going in the wrong place. ”
On Thursday, the participants will depart from Al-Ula towards Hail, at a distance of 564 km, of which 353 km will be a speed stage.
Drivers test their navigational capabilities when they pass the sandy hills of Hail on their way down the road to Riyadh. After a day of rest in Riyadh following the end of the sixth stage, the journey resumes on the longest day in terms of distance, as the participants go their way for a distance of 741 km.
The race track turns to the west in the middle of the vast desert of the Kingdom, before turning back and moving east towards the Haradh area in Al-Ahsa Governorate, which means entering the Empty Quarter, then approaching towards the finish line in the “Qiddiya” area that will witness the coronation of the winner.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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