RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Carlos Sainz will take the Dakar Rally lead into the rest day after losing a duel with teammate Stephane Peterhansel on the sixth stage on Friday.
Peterhansel won his second stage, the 78th of his unparalleled career in the Dakar, but Sainz trailed him to the finish outside the Saudi capital Riyadh only 93 seconds behind.
The 477-kilometer route south from Ha’il on open desert saw drivers press their accelerators for at least 4 1/2 hours, though defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah was slowed at the end and conceded more than three minutes.
That dropped second-placed Al-Attiyah to eight minutes behind Sainz overall, while Peterhansel was 16 minutes back. Local driver Yazeed Al Rajhi was fourth on the stage and fourth overall, nearly 37 minutes behind.
“I need the rest day now,” Sainz said.
His Mini teammate Peterhansel agreed.
“It’s more mentally tiring,” the Frenchman said.
American rider Ricky Brabec maintained his motorbikes lead heading to the rest day on Saturday, improving it to more than 20 minutes overall.
Brabec won his second stage at the head of a bunch including Joan Barreda, Matthias Walkner, Pablo Quintanilla, Luciano Benavides, and Jose Ignacio Cornejo.
Overall, Brabec led from Quintanilla, followed by defending champion Toby Price more than 25 minutes back, then Barreda and former champ Walkner.
Price lost more than 16 minutes after a back wheel problem about 30 kilometers from the finish. Kevin Benavides, who started the day third overall, saw his title hopes disappear when his engine broke down near the end, too, and he lost more than 3 1/2 hours.
Racing resumes on Sunday. The race ends next Friday.
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