After stage 9 was cancelled due to weather conditions not allowing mechanics to repair their cars, the almost 800km long stage 10 began Dakar’s Argentinian sojourn. Carlos Sainz is still leading the Dakar 2018 despite the 10-minute penalty. ‘Mr Dakar’ Stephane Peterhansel on the other hand, is stalking the race leader and thanks to the added penalty, has cut the lead down to 50 minutes. With just four more stages to go, the chances of Peterhansel getting anywhere close is a remote possibility. But then, remember, it is Dakar and anything can happen.
Nasser Al-Attiyah, despite his valiant fighting efforts, is being continuously bogged down by mechanical issues. With his rear triangle taking a hit 45 kms from the finish line, the Qatari racer had to limp to the bivouac, pushing him 22 minutes behind Peterhansel in the overall standings.
Giniel De Villiers, Toyota Gazoos’ third driver, set a blistering pace today, almost challenging Peterhansel’s lead by the end of the day. This performance of his takes him just 33 seconds behind Bernhard Ten Brinke, his fellow Toyota driver. Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, driving a privateer Peugeot 3008, has now climbed to an overall seventh position, 12 minutes behind another privateer, Jakub Przygonski driving the Mini X-Raid. Mini’s factory driver, Hirvonnen, is currently running 14th overall, with almost two hours between him and the last of the top ten drivers.