Despite being beset by persistent mechanical issues, Nasser Al-Attiyah has been the pick of Dakar 2018 with his grit and unrelenting efforts. The two-time Dakar champion scored his third stage win this race despite two punctures and now has won the longest competitive stage of Dakar 2018 totalling 523kms. This is his 20th stage win overall, equalling Jacky Ickx, and trailing the current race leader Carlos Sainz by just one.
Despite his valiant efforts, the Qatari racer is still running in third position overall and has practically no chance of catching up with the top two. Running in a similar situation, ‘Mr Dakar’ Stephane Peterhansel clocked the second fastest time of the day, shaving just a small bit off Carlos Sainz’s lead with just two stages to go.
Carlos Sainz now has a lead of over 45 minutes overall and with just two stages to go, the rallying veteran is still maintaining brisk pace, knowing the unpredictable nature of the Dakar rally. Bernhard Ten Brinke also delivered another consistent performance to seal his fourth place overall in Dakar 2018 and is followed by Toyota Gazoo teammate De Villiers in the overall standings.
Cyril Despres, the third of the lions (Peugeots), who had sacrificed his race for Peterhansel, has been one of the top drivers this Dakar and this performance should certainly boost his ratings for the next campaign.