Qatari Nasser AlAttiyah achieved his sixth victory in the stages of the Saudi Dakar Rally 2021 after finishing the eleventh stage of the race in first place, ahead of Frenchman Stephan by a minute and 56 seconds, while Spain’s Carlos Sainz came in third, followed by Saudi Yazid AlRajhi fourth.
Today’s stage which started from AlUla and ended in Yanbu saw the distance of the special stage shorten by fifty kilometers from its original distance due to the weather conditions that affected the area that part of the stage’s path will pass through. The overall standings were not different in the car category, as Peterhansel continued to lead the general standings, approaching the title and consolidating his record in the number of Dakar Rally titles he had previously won 13 times. AlAttiyah is 15 minutes and 5 seconds behind Peterhansel, while Sainz is third.
General leader Peterhansel said: “Today has been a tough day as the organizers said before, and as we expected it to be. Navigation was difficult and we had two punctures, the last one on the dunes. The dunes were strange, and there were rocks in them after the top of the dunes, so it was not easy to anticipate or see. We suffered a heavy blow and a puncture in the end. I was a bit afraid that some parts of the frame of the temple might have broken, but it was fine. We lost a few minutes, but that’s normal. We have a day left before the end of the rally, and we hope to finish it in first place. ”
In the motorcycle category, British Sam Sunderland finished the stage in first place, two minutes and 40 seconds behind secondplaced Chilean Pablo Quintania, while Argentine Kevin Benavides came in third place, to continue top of the overall standings, followed by Sandland by 4 minutes and 12 seconds, while American Ricky Brabec finished Third, 7 minutes and 11 seconds behind the leaders.
Sunderland said after reaching the finish line: “I knew that today is my last chance to win a stage of the rally, I gave my all, and the youngsters in front gave a great performance. I cannot be sad; I haven’t managed to shrink the time by much, but I’m happy with my efforts. We still have a day to go, and a lot of things can happen during it. It was a tough day as is the rally in general, but I am grateful to the team and everyone who worked on the bike. I cannot complain about anything with our ability to run the rally in the desert despite the general conditions around the world, so I am happy about that. ”
The quad bike category saw Giovanni Enrico of Chile win first, while Manuel Andujar of Argentina came second and American Pablo Copti finished third. Andujar continued his lead in the provisional overall standings by 25 minutes and 52 seconds behind Enrico, and Copti finished third after Alexander Giroud’s engine failed, forcing the Frenchman to withdraw from the race.
In the light desert vehicles category, American rookie Seth Quintero came first in today’s stage, Francisco Lopez Contardo came second, and Gerard Faris Gale came third. Thus, the ranking for the category continues as it is, with Contardo at the top, American Austin Jones, second, and Polish Aaron Domsala third.
In the truck category, Russian Anton Shibalov came first, 4 minutes and 13 seconds ahead of Iirat Mardiv, while Belarusian Alexei Vishnowsky came third. Russian Dmitry Sotnikov continued at the top of the overall standings, 39 minutes and 58 seconds behind Shibalov, and Mardev finished third.
The Saudi Dakar Rally 2021 will conclude tomorrow with the twelfth and final stage, which will start from Yanbu to the finish line in Jeddah, and the stage extends for 452 kilometers, of which 225 kilometers are a special stage subject to timing. The final stage track features strings of dunes that contestants will have to deal with, as stumbling with them can make the difference between the happy and bitter end of the competitors.