Dakar 2020: Carlos Sainz extends overall lead with stage seven win

Valentin Khorounzhiy
Sainz extends Dakar lead with stage seven win
Sainz extends Dakar lead with stage seven win

X-raid Mini driver Carlos Sainz has picked up his third stage win of the 2020 Dakar Rally to further extend his advantage at the top of the general classification.

Sainz, chasing his third Dakar win, picked up where he had left off in the first half of the marathon and delivered Mini's sixth stage win from seven so far in this year's event.

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Sunday's Riyadh - Wadi ad-Dawasir run featured the event's longest timed special at 339 miles, but the length did not lead to any major swings in the battle for overall victory.

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The Toyotas of reigning champion Nasser Al-Attiyah and local driver Yasir Seaidan set the pace through the first half of the test, but Sainz jumped ahead soon after the midway point and at the finish ended up beating Al-Attiyah by two minutes.

Sainz's advantage over Al-Attiyah in the overall standings is now exactly 10 minutes.

The other X-raid Mini buggy of Stephane Peterhansel opened the road and although Sainz caught up to him in the stage, Peterhansel minimised his time losses by finishing just 2m53s slower, which leaves him nine minutes off Al-Attiyah and 19 off Sainz with five stages left to run.

Sunday marked the fourth successive stage where the two Mini buggies and Al-Attiyah occupied the top three spots, but Bernhard ten Brinke came close to upsetting the status quo in his Toyota as he trailed Peterhansel by just five seconds.

Yazeed Al-Rajhi in the Overdrive Toyota finished seven minutes off Sainz's pace and continues to run a comfortable fourth in the general classification as he extended his advantage over fifth-placed Orlando Terranova in the Mini 4x4.

Mathieu Serradori, who had started the day in sixth in his Century buggy, has slipped behind his Toyota chasers - Giniel de Villiers and ten Brinke - as a result of getting stuck on a dune in the opening miles of the stage.

Seaidan, who had been fastest early on the stage, wound up finishing 13 minutes adrift at the end.

Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso was sixth on the day, finishing less than eight minutes behind Sainz, and is set to end Sunday not far off a top-10 spot in the overall order.

Sunday's proceedings were overshadowed by the death of bike class competitor and 2015 Dakar runner-up Paulo Goncalves, who passed away following a crash midway through the test.

Leading stage seven times

Pos

Class

Driver

Team

Car

Gap

1

C

Carlos Sainz

Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team

Mini/BMW

4h16m11.s

2

C

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota

2m12.s

3

C

Stephane Peterhansel

Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team

Mini/BMW

2m53.s

4

C

Bernhard Ten Brinke

Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota

2m58.s

5

C

Yazeed Al-Rajhi

Overdrive Toyota

Toyota

7m36.s

6

C

Fernando Alonso

Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota

7m49.s

7

C

Giniel de Villiers

Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota

10m19.s

8

C

Jakub Przygonski

Orlen X-Raid Team

Mini/BMW

11m41.s

9

C

Orlando Terranova

X-Raid Team

Mini/BMW

12m04.s

10

C

Yasir Saeidan

Race World Team

Mini/BMW

13m32.s

Leading times overall

Pos

Class

Driver

Team

Car

Gap

1

C

Carlos Sainz

Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team

Mini/BMW

27h49m14.s

2

C

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota

10m00.s

3

C

Stephane Peterhansel

Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team

Mini/BMW

19m13.s

4

C

Yazeed Al-Rajhi

Overdrive Toyota

Toyota

44m24.s

5

C

Orlando Terranova

X-Raid Team

Mini/BMW

55m58.s

6

C

Giniel de Villiers

Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota

1h05m58.s

7

C

Bernhard Ten Brinke

Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota

1h15m56.s

8

C

Mathieu Serradori

SRT Racing

Century/?

1h21m57.s

9

C

Yasir Saeidan

Race World Team

Mini/BMW

2h13m43.s

10

C

Wei Han

Geely Auto Shell Lubricant Team

Hanwei/Geely

3h08m30.s

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