Dakar 2020, Stage 7: Sainz tops longest test

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

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

Sunday’s Riyadh – Wadi ad-Dawasir run featured the event’s longest timed special at 546 kilometres, yet did not cause any major swings in the battle for overall victory.

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

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 though Sainz caught up to him in the stage, Peterhansel was able to minimise 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 that the two Mini buggies and Al-Attiyah occupied the top three spots, but the Qatari’s Toyota squadmate Bernhard ten Brinke came close to upsetting the status quo as he trailed Peterhansel by just five seconds.

Yazeed Al-Rajhi in the Overdrive Toyota was 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 entered 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 kilometres of the stage.

Seaidan, who had been fastest early in the stage, wound up 13 minutes adrift at the end of the special.

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

The day’s proceedings were overshadowed by the loss of bike class competitor and 2015 Dakar runner-up Paulo Goncalves, who passed away after a crash midway through the test.

General classification (top 10):

Pos. # Driver / Co-driver Car Time Gap
1 305

Spain Carlos Sainz

Spain Lucas Cruz

Mini 27h49m14s  
2 300

Qatar Nasser Al-Attiyah

France Mathieu Baumel

Toyota 27h59m14s 10m0s
3 302 France Stephane Peterhansel
Portugal Paulo Fiuza
Mini 28h8m27s 19m13s
4 309

Saudi Arabia Yazeed Al-Rajhi

Russian Federation Konstantin Zhiltsov

Toyota 28h33m38s 44m24s
5 311

Argentina Orlando Terranova

Argentina Bernardo Graue

Mini 28h45m12s 55m58s
6 304

South Africa Giniel de Villiers

Spain Alex Haro

Toyota 28h55m12s 1h5m58s
7 307

Netherlands Bernhard ten Brinke

Belgium Tom Colsoul

Toyota 29h5m10s 1h15m56s
8 315

France Mathieu Serradori

Belgium Fabian Lurquin

Century 29h11m11s 1h21m57s
9 324

Saudi Arabia Yasir Seaidan

Russian Federation Alexy Kuzmich

Mini 30h2m57s 2h13m43s
10 322

China Wei Han

China Min Liao

Hanwei 30h57m44s 3h8m30s

Trucks: Karginov marches on

Despite having to open the road on Sunday, Andrey Karginov continued to dominate the Trucks race as he edged his out-of-contention Kamaz stablemate Andrey Sotnikov by three seconds to claim the stage win.

Nearest rival Anton Shibalov, also a Kamaz driver, surrendered two minutes to Karginov and is now 21 adrift overall.

Maz's Siarhei Viazovich has long consolidated third place - as he sits over an hour ahead of Czech drivers Ales Loprais and Martin Macik - but has been unable to keep up with the Kamaz pair, and now trails Karginov by more than three quarters of an hour.

#405 South Racing - Can Am: Casey Currie, Sean Berriman

#405 South Racing - Can Am: Casey Currie, Sean Berriman

Photo by: Motul

SxS: Currie picks up half-hour lead

American driver Blade Hildebrand scored the Red Bull-run Overdrive OT3's third consecutive stage win, following on from Mitch Guthrie and Cyril Despres.

Hildebrand was 11 minutes clear of his nearest rival, compatriot Casey Currie, who now leads the overall SxS race after a bruising stage for reigning champion Francisco Lopez.

Lopez lost half an hour late in the stage, and now trails Currie by 32 minutes, with only Sergey Karyakin and Jose Antonio Hinojo Lopez also within an hour of the leader.

Guthrie, who was Red Bull's sole representative in contention with Hildebrand and Despres competing under the 'Dakar Experience' rule, retired with mechanical issues.

Dakar 2020, Stage 7: Barreda scores first victory
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Benavides awarded win after stopping for Goncalves

Benavides awarded win after stopping for Goncalves