The Spanish pilot Carlos Sainz (Mini) left this Wednesday aimed at achieving his third dakar by broadly winning the tenth stage of the raid, whose last part was canceled by strong gusts of wind that prevented helicopter overflight over the competition zone.
Sainz, who started with only 24 seconds of difference over Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota), took almost 18 minutes ahead of the Qatari and almost 12 over the French Stéphane Peterhansel in just 223 kilometers of stage, the point where the rest of the route was canceled, which was initially 534 timed kilometers.
Thus, the Madrid will face the last two stages of the Dakar with an advantage in the general classification of more than 18 minutes over his two main pursuers. Both Peterhansel, winner of the ninth stage, and Al-Attiyah, who had finished second, were the first two cars to leave on this day, and in their work to open the track and find the right course they committed an error whose direct beneficiary was Sainz, which came right behind them. The Madrid rider chose not to follow in the footsteps of the other two and found the right way to get an advantage that can be absolutely decisive for the end of the rally. The cancellation of the second half of the stage, where 175 kilometers remained to be timed, prevented Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel from recovering land over the Spanish.
Nor was it a good day this time for Spanish Fernando Alonso (Toyota), which suffered a turnaround when crossing a dune in an area of spectators that was one kilometer from the exit of the stage.
Alonso's car gave two turns of bell and it was again on all four wheels, but suffered some damage such as the loss of the windshield, which forced the Formula 1 champion to stop for more than an hour. Although it seemed that he was going to wait for the assistance truck to make some repairs, the Spaniard resumed the march with the objective of completing the section to the point where the stage has been canceled.
Alonso had entered Tuesday among the top ten of the general classification after four days where he had chained a dynamic of finishing the stages within the 'top 10', including second place in the eighth stage.
The mishap suffered by the Spaniard becomes even more important as it is the marathon stage, where competitors cannot dispose of their mechanics as they usually do to repair the units and it must be the same crew that fixes any breakdown.
Barreda prevails on motorcycles
On motorcycles the victory of the tenth stage was for the Spanish also Joan Barreda (Honda), the first of the Valencian in this Dakar and the twenty-fourth in the rally, which confirmed his good reaction in this second week of the race, where he has accumulated four consecutive days in the first three, after a first half of Very discreet competition.
The Castellon followed in second position, just a minute, the American Ricky Brabec, which maintains the first place of the general classification with a comfortable advantage, and in third place was the Argentine Kevin Benavides, with which Honda signed a triplet on this day.
The bikes of the Japanese brand were followed by three bikes of their Austrian competition KTM, with the Australian Toby Price fourth, the Argentine Luciano Benavides fifth and the Austrian Matthias Walkner sixth.
In the seventh position the Chilean Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) finished, who was the winner of the ninth stage and on this day he had to open the track as he was the first motorcycle to leave, which prevented him from attacking and trying to cut differences on Brabec.
Quintanilla, second in the general classification, saw his distance from Brabec increased to more than 25 minutes, followed by Barreda, which is 27 from the American. If this continues, the American will not only get his first Dakar in two days but will also make the Japanese brand break the eighteen consecutive years of dominance that KTM had in the toughest rally in the world.
This was again a good day for the Spanish Laia Sanz, which continued to show that it goes from less to more after its fall during the first week of competition and this time it finished nineteenth, again in the top twenty.
This day took place between the oil enclave of Haradh and Shubaytah, a military base located near the border of Saudi Arabia with the United Arab Emirates, in the middle of the 'Empty Room', an extensive desert of 650,000 square kilometers practically uninhabited.
The Dakar 2020 is played entirely in Saudi Arabia, with twelve stages from January 5 to 17 and a route of almost 8,000 kilometers, of which more than 5,000 are timed, leaving in Jeddah, the second largest city in the country, and Arrival in Qiddiya, a large leisure city that will be built on the outskirts of the capital Riad.