Nasser Al-Attiyah has retained a healthy Dakar Rally lead despite conceding victory on stage six to closest rival Sebastien Loeb after going astray from his route towards the finish.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver has dominated this year’s event so far and holds a 37m 43s lead over Loeb in the privateer Peugeot PH-Sport. Al-Attiyah lost over two minutes to Loeb after heading down the wrong banking, which the Qatari predicts costs him “several minutes”, to hand the stage win to Loeb.

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But given Al-Attiyah’s strong time advantage in the general classification he remains in a dominant position to take victory, assuming he avoids any mechanical disasters, with only four stages remaining.

Lead X-Raid Mini JCW driver Stephane Peterhansel has held on to third place despite struggling on the Arequipa to San Juan de Marcona stage but has over four minutes in hand on Nani Roma (X-Raid Team) who got struck in sand close to the stage finish.

In the Moto category, disaster struck for former Dakar Rally winner Sam Sunderland as he dropped from second to seventh place for Red Bull KTM. Having been handed victory on stage five with a time adjustment after helping rival Paulo Goncalves, Sunderland had to lead out the stage which meant he had no markers before a rear brake issue plagued his progress.

With leader Pablo Quintanilla securing victory on stage six, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider now holds a 4m 38s lead over Ricky Brabec on the Monster Energy Honda, with Sunderland’s team-mate Toby Price moving up to third place overall.

The 2019 Dakar Rally concludes at the end of stage 10 in Lima on January 17.

 

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