Former Champions Separating Themselves From Dakar Rally Field

Three-time Dakar Rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah held his nerve on Monday’s Stage 2 to claw back time on rivals Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz in the car standings as Russian Dmitry Sotnikov extended his truck lead.

Al-Attiyah, Peterhansel and defending champion Sainz have combined to win 13 of the past 16 Dakar Rallies. The three finished 1-2-3 in Monday’s second stage in Saudi Arabia from Bisha to Wadi Ad-Dawasir. The stage covered 283 miles.

Al-Attiyah came back from a difficult Sunday, where he finished 10th, to win on Monday by 2 minutes, 35 seconds over Frenchman Peterhansel with defending champion Sainz just under 10 minutes back.

👴 The Classics were back at it today on the way from Bisha!

Watch them in action 🎬#Dakar2021

Al-Attiyah, 50, who is now nine minutes and 14 seconds back from 13-time Dakar winner Peterhansel, revealed, “Yesterday we lost a lot of time because we opened the stage and it was so tough. Today we went flat out from start to finish and everything worked really well.”

The truck category saw Russian Sotnikov extend his lead to 17 minutes, 14 seconds from Belarus’ Siarhei Viazovich after he won by 4:17 on the day over compatriot and fellow Kamaz Master driver Airat Mardeev with Ignacio Casale seventh overall on his return to trucks.

The lead changed hands in the Lightweight Vehicles category with Chile’s Chaleco López now holding top spot with Cristina Gutiérrez slipping to fourth overall.

It was a tough day for former bike champions Toby Price, Sam Sunderland and Matthias Walkner as they all lost ground with Austrian Walkner more than two hours back. Australian Price faced navigation challenges, then suffered a fuel tank issue while Briton Sunderland conceded over 20 minutes to leader Joan Barreda.

Two-time winner Price, 33, said, “I had to conserve fuel because I only had my front tanks. It was tough, but it’s something we can sort out tonight.”

There are more dunes in Tuesday’s Stage 3 as the 403 km (250 miles) timed special stage will skirt the edges of the notorious Empty Quarter desert before returning to the Wadi Ad-Dawasir bivouac.

Classification leaders after stage 2 of 12



Lightweight vehicle


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