Frenchman Peterhansel one stage away from 14th Dakar win

Rallying - Dakar Rally - Stage 11 - AlUla to Yanbu, Saudi Arabia - January 14, 2021 X-Raid Mini JCW Team's Stephane Peterhansel and Co-Driver Edouard Boulanger in action during stage 11 REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

(Reuters) - French veteran Stephane Peterhansel was one stage away from a record-extending 14th Dakar triumph on Thursday after ending the penultimate day in Saudi Arabia with a 15-minute lead over Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Toyota's Al-Attiyah, who had said on Wednesday that the event would be decided on the shortened 464-km stage from Al-Ula to Yanbu, won the day but Peterhansel kept him in check with the second fastest time.

"There’s only one day to go. It’s time to cross fingers and hope that we will be in first place at the end," said Peterhansel, whose record 13 previous wins came on both motorcycles and in cars.

Friday's final 200km stage to Jeddah features chains of dunes before reaching the shores of the Red Sea but offers less scope for Al-Attiyah to close the gap unless his ever-consistent rival hits problems.

"It’s exactly like last year, we are really struggling with the tyres," said the Qatari, a triple Dakar winner, after clawing back a minute and 56 seconds from Peterhansel to secure his sixth stage win of the event.

"I hope for next year (we are) coming with good rules for everybody.

"There’s still one day left, but this time we have really had a lot of punctures. I’ve had more than 16 tyres punctured. I am sure that 16 tyres by one minute and a half (for each change) is a lot."

In the motorcycle category, Britain's Sam Sunderland won the stage for KTM to move up to second overall, four minutes and 12 seconds behind Honda's Argentine Kevin Benavides.

"I knew that today was one of my last chances to try to win and I gave my all," said Sunderland. "I didn't quite manage to take enough time, but I'm happy with my effort. We still have one day to go and many things can happen on one stage."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In Motorsport

Experienced Perez determined to over-deliver for Red Bull
Low key' Verstappen keeps a lid on the pre-season hype
Ferrari returning to Le Mans top flight with hypercar in 2023
Fabio upset for not grabbing chance to win world crown
Red Bull F1 team reveal their potential Mercedes-beater
MotoGP team boss Gresini dies aged 60 after COVID-19 battle
Alfa F1 team set summer deadline for 2021 car updates
AlphaTauri's Gasly ready to be a leader for team and Tsunoda
Motorcyling: Gresini in medically-induced coma again as condition worsens
Closing the gap to Mercedes is McLaren's main target

Stories You'll Enjoy