Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Sunday, Jan 29, 2023

Sainz leads from Loeb, Al-Attiyah struggles after Dakar stage 1

Audi driver Carlos Sainz Sr took the lead of the 2023 Dakar Rally with a late charge in the opening stage on Sunday, while reigning Nasser Al-Attiyah struggled to eighth place.
It was Sainz’s teammate Mattias Ekstrom who led the majority of the 367km special near Sea Camp in Saudi Arabia, the former DTM ace grabbing the lead at the first checkpoint and steadily building his advantage from there on.

But the complexion of the stage changed completely between the final two checkpoints, with Sainz producing a heroic effort to jump from fourth — and more than two minutes down — to clinch his 42nd career stage win in the Dakar Rally.

Ekstrom not only conceded a position to his more experienced teammate Sainz but also the Bahrain Raid Xtreme entry of WRC legend Sebastien Loeb over the course of the day, the Frenchman likewise gaining a chunk of time on him in the final 90km stretch to the finish line.

But having finished comfortably ahead of him in Saturday’s Prologue, Loeb only sits 10 seconds adrift of Sainz going into the second stage of the rally from Sea Camp to Alula on Monday.

Ekstrom eventually ended the day 33s down on Sainz in the overall standings, having previously been a minute clear of his competitors at the penultimate timing point of the stage.

Fourth place went to French driver Guerlain Chicherit, who finished just over a minute down in a privateer Prodrive-built Hunter campaigned by his GCK Motorsport team.

Yazeed Al-Rajhi was another privateer who impressed during the first full day of Dakar as he beat all factory Toyotas in the Overdrive-run Hilux en route to fifth overall, ahead of Brian Baragwanath in his Century entry.

Seventh place went to Orlando Terranova in the second of the Bahrain entries, although the Argentine lost seven minutes to the leaders in what wasn’t a particularly long stage by Dakar’s standards.

Toyota star Al-Attiyah fared even worse as the Qatari driver dropped 7m07s over the course of the stage, haemorrhaging most of the time in the final section that featured a wide variety of terrain including dunes.

This put him eighth in the overall standings, just ahead of ‘Mr Dakar’ Stephane Peterhansel and the leading X-raid Mini of Jakub Przygonski in the top 10.

Peterhansel had been running near the front in the first half of the stage and stood as high as third in the standings, but lost a chunk of time between waypoints 3 and 4 to end the day the slowest of the three factory Audis.

Loeb believes this could be the year that he leads Bahrain Raid Xtreme to victory in the Dakar Rally, and he underlined his intentions Sunday.

Partnered by Fabian Lurquin in his BRX Hunter, Loeb finds himself in between Audi teammates Sainz and Mattias Ekström, but has strong support close at hand following a stage on which the five quickest drivers were separated by just over two minutes.

Loeb said: “It was a good step for us at this stage, no problem. I was very safe from the beginning from the punctures. It was really rough with big stones, and I wanted to try to avoid a puncture. So that’s what we did.”

Chicherit said, “That was a real Dakar stage. It was rough, a lot of rocks. There’s a lot of things that could happen. It would be easy to destroy the car today, so we drove carefully. I think we did a pretty good pace, and got just one puncture. That cost us the victory on the day, but you know that’s what it’s like.”

Terranova added, “To open the road is not easy and the stage was very difficult. It was hard for us to to find some of the waypoints, and at the end I tried to push and we had good speed, so we are happy.”

Related Articles

Saudi Press
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Saudi FM discusses Kingdom’s economy, oil, Iran and US ties in Davos
Israelis rally in three cities against Netanyahu legal reforms
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Saudi Arabia plans to use domestic uranium for nuclear fuel
Mohammed Bin Salman chosen most influential Arab leader of 2022
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
United Arab Emirates says it will teach Holocaust in schools
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Saudi Arabia’s female ambassadors: Who are the five women representing the Kingdom?
Almubarak named ‘The Best Central Bank Governor of the Year 2023 for the Middle East’
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Dubai announces $8.7 trillion economic plan to boost trade, investment and global hub status
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman.