Following the rest day in Arequipa, Sebastien Loeb picked up his third stage win in the 2019 Dakar Rally. Stage 6 ran from Arequipa to San Juan de Marcona – where Loeb was knocked out of the competition last year – and the Spanish driver managed to finish the 810km stage in 3:39:21 seconds. Starting three minutes after road opener Loeb, Toyota’s Al-Attiyah came in second a mere 2 minutes and 17 seconds behind the Peugeot.
The competitors faced the fearsome dunes of Tanaka right after the start and it is said to be even nastier than it was in 2018. After traversing the dunes of Ascari (the same section of Stage 3), a tough battle was fought on the dunes of Grande. Finishing third in Stage 6 was Carlos Sainz with a time of 3:46:17 seconds, thus improving his general classification standing to 11. X-Raid Mini JCW’s Stephen Peterhansel had a challenging time in the dunes of Tanaka and lost more than 20 minutes ahead of the neutralized zone. He finished sixth in this stage with a time of 3:58:10 seconds. The thirteen-time Dakar Champion has now lost his second place on the leaderboard to Loeb and is currently 41 minutes and 14 seconds behind the race leader.
With an understated performance, Nani Roma trailed behind the lead racer, Attiyah, by only 45 minutes and 24 seconds and finished fifth. Cyril Despres’ near flawless run helped him finish fourth in this stage and his overall standing improved from sixth to fifth. On the other hand, Roma’s overall standing, stands fourth, right behind Peterhansel.
Other two Toyota cars bagged the eighth and ninth position in Stage 6 with Giniel De Villiers and Bernhard Brinke managing time of 4:02:50 seconds and 4:06:50 seconds respectively. With a time of 4:29:20 seconds, X-Raid’s Yazeed Al Rajhi – after facing difficulties in Tanaka dunes – managed to finish in top 10.
Stéphane Peterhansel after losing his position on the leaderboard after Stage 6, said, “Yet another stupid mistake. The first special wasn't too bad until I saw Nani stuck five kilometres from the finish. He didn't signal for help, but after he helped me out two days ago, I felt compelled to rush to his aid. As a result, I ended up in a sand basin and lost twenty minutes. It wasn't a mistake, it was a real blunder. Victory's slipping away after too many mistakes”.