13-time Dakar champion Stephane Peterhansel bagged the 42nd win of his career in Stage 3 yesterday, which ran between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa. After a hard-hitting Stage 2 where he was stuck on dunes due to electrical failure, 54-year-old Peterhansel made an incredible comeback with a time of 03:54:31 seconds on the third stage.
Another implausible comeback was that of Toyota's Nasser Al-Attiyah who managed to grab the second position with a time of 03:57:57 seconds, just 3.26 minutes behind Peterhansel. Attiyah sustained a severe blow to his overall ranking after he finished 11th in Stage 2. Despite having to deal with a flat tyre, the Qatari driver has now managed to move up his overall position from eight to first at the end of Stage 3.
Orlen X-Raid Team’s Jakub Przygonski finished third behind Al-Attiyah, crossing the line with a time of 4:06:18 seconds. The X-Raid teammates, Yazeed Al Rajhi and Nani Roma, rounded off the fourth and fifth position with a time of 4:07:21 seconds and 4:12:43 seconds, respectively.
After proving his mettle in Stage 2, Sebastien Loeb had a rough time behind the wheel of his Peugeot, only managing to finish eight. With a time of 4:37:26 seconds, Loeb was almost 42 minutes behind the Stage winner. As a result, his overall position was affected and Loeb is currently eighth in the general classification standing. Trailing behind Nasser Al-Attiyah in the overall ranking at second place is X-Raid’s Yazeed Al Rajhi while the Stage 3 win granted Peterhansel third position on the leaderboard.
The worst of Dakar hit veteran rally driver Carlos Sainz who suffered a tyre burst and failure of the front-left suspension right at the start of the stage at just 38 kilometres after the flag-off. He was stranded for more than three hours and finished 65th at the end of Stage 3, thus dropping in his overall rankings to 36.
Driving the X-Raid Mini JCW, Carlos Sainz is the defending champion at the 2019 Dakar Rally. And now his dreams of defending his championship seem to have gone up in smoke.
Moreover, overnight leader Giniel de Villiers had to halt 172 kilometres into the stage. His No.302 Toyota suffered an oil pipe failure causing a loss in oil pressure and the South African driver fell behind in the leaderboard. Competitors Cyril Despres and Sebastien Loeb stopped by to check on him, showcasing a high spirit of the Dakar Rally.