The second longest stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally was from Pisco where the nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb clinched the top spot with a stage time of 3:26:53 seconds. The second stage had 553 kilometres of timed run across dunes, sandy tracks and potions of beaches. And French rallycross driver proved his mettle making the most of the last 50 kilometres and held out against the amazing comeback by Nani Roma of X-Raid Team, who finished mere 8 seconds behind Loeb.
After the difficulties of Ica’s dunes, the drivers headed towards the Pacific Ocean and followed the coast for one hundred kilometres. A quicker section heading north was perfectly utilised by Loeb, through the dunes of Ocucaje. Driving the Peugeot 3008 DKR as a privateer in this year’s season, Loeb has jumped up to fifth place in the overall ranking after the amazing performance on Stage 2.
Toyota Gazoo Racing SA driver, Bernhard Ten Brinke, gave Loeb a tough time behind the wheel. However, towards the end of the stage, he slipped to third (3:28:13 seconds), a minute behind Roma’s time of 3:27:01 seconds. Finishing fourth was Brinke’s teammate, Giniel de Villiers, with a time of 03:28:24 seconds followed by Yazeed Al Rajhi of X-Raid Team (3:29:26 seconds) in the fifth position.
Previous stage winner Al-Attiyah, who opened the road for Stage 2 only managed to finish eleventh, almost seven minutes behind Loeb. The poor performance in stage two dropped Al-Attiyah’s overall position and currently, he is eighth in the rankings. Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz suffered two punctures and an onboard tyre inflation/deflation controls failure in Stage 2. The veteran Spanish driver – who finished second in the first Stage – managed to cross the line at eight position. Thirteen-time Dakar champion, Stephane Peterhansel, lost vital 20 minutes after being stranded on a dune due to electrical problems. He was helped by his Mini-Raid team member Cyril Despres and he finished the Stage 3 in the seventeenth position.
Going into the Stage 3 – which will run from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa – Dakar Legend Giniel de Villiers is leading the charts with an overall time of 4:32:45 seconds. Toyota’s Bernard Brimke is second and X-Raid’s Nani Roma is third with a time of 4:33:13 seconds and 04:33:27 seconds, respectively.
It didn’t take too long to prove why the Dakar is regarded as the toughest motorsport event in the world. Five-time Dakar stage winner, Orlando Terranova, crashed his 310 number X-raid Mini 178kilometres into the stage. The 39-year-old Argentinian driver suffered lower back pain following the incident and was flown to a hospital in Ica.