After six gruesome Stages, the 2020 Dakar held for the first time in Saudi Arabia has reached the capital Riyadh for the rest day. Of the total vehicle started from Jeddah for stage one only 262 vehicles (including 108 motorbikes, 15 quads, 65 cars, 34 SSVs and 40 trucks) are still in the race. The three-way battle between Peterhansel, Al-Attiyah and Sainz continued on Stage 6, but X-Raid’s Mini buggy came up on top as the 13 time Dakar winner Peterhansel was untouchable on the wild dunes crossing the line first with a time of 4h27m17s.
Stage starter and race leader, Carlos Sainz remained consistent throughout finishing second just 1m33s behind the French veteran. Sainz has extended his lead by 7m48s over Nasser Al-Attiyah finished third in Stage 6 even though he was right at the tail of the French legend all day. As usual, the defending champion could be looking for an opportunity later in the stage to bounce back with his Toyota. The Qatari will benefit by big dune stages of the second week as he’ll be looking to tighten the screws on the rivals in his very backyard.
Another local hero, Yazeed Al Rajhi has been impressive with his steadiness since day one. He finished fourth in the sixth Stage is looking comfortable in the P4 of the overall leaderboard. On the other hand, Fernando Alonso has finished at his best position so far in his debut Dakar at sixth just 7m56s adrift Peterhansel. The Spaniard has progressed to 16th position in the general standing in the Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Hilux.
Going into the second half of the 2020 season, other driver’s like Orlando Terranova, Mathieu Serradori and Giniel De Villiers along with Yazeed Al Rajhi could only hope for a podium finish if at least one of the top-three race leaders make a grave mistake. For the rest, trailing by an hour from race leader could only hope to score a stage win.
The 2020 Dakar will now resume on Sunday, as the remaining competitors will head to Wadi ad-Dawasri from Riyadh. There, they’ll be welcomed by the longest timed special at 546km out of the overall 741 km run.