Thursday, February 2, 2023

De Villiers leads Toyota 1-2-3 in Dakar 9th leg. Nation World News

WADI AD-DAWASIR, Saudi Arabia ( Associated Press) — Giniel de Villiers led the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team 1-2-3, which included overall leader Nasser Al-Attiyah, in the ninth stage of the Dakar Rally on Tuesday.

Al-Attiyah extended his lead to 39 minutes with three steps to go to Saudi Arabia by a minute behind his nearest chaser, Sebastian Loeb.

De Villiers, who has been runner-up five times since winning the 2009 Dakar, crashed out of the title race on Sunday after an oil pump broke down and he lost an hour. But he is fifth overall and has won a stage in the Dakar for a fifth straight.

Another South African, Henk Lattegan, was nine seconds behind in second place, and Al-Attiyah a minute behind. Loeb was fifth, two minutes behind after another puncture on the 287-kilometer loop course, which started and ended in Wadi ad-Dvasir.

Nine-time world rally champion Loeb successfully defended a time penalty for losing his last spare wheel during the race on Monday after a puncture. The drivers must retrieve the wheel, but the organizers accepted their excuse that they did not know they had lost it. He was only fined.

Meanwhile, Mathias Walker took the motorbike’s overall lead for the first time after podium opener Sam Sunderland rolled in the second half.

Fresh off the World Championships of her second cross-country rallies, Walkner has been in the top three for more than a week. The Austrian’s consistency paid off when he finished fourth on the podium.

From four minutes behind overall, he is two minutes in front of Sunderland. France’s Adrian van Beveren was two minutes earlier and Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla was within a five-minute lead. Only Walkner and Sunderland in the top four have won the Dakar.

Chile’s Jose Ignacio Cornejo won the stage, defending champion Kevin Benavides of Argentina was second, 1 minutes behind, and Ricky Brabek of the United States was third when he took the lead in the first half.


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