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Al-Attiyah holds second place in Dakar International Rally

العطية يتمسك بالمركز الثاني في رالي داكار الدولي

 

RIYADH: Overdrive Racing and Toyota Gazoo Racing are firmly on course to retain their Dakar Rally title at the rest day in Riyadh after six special stages of the event’s first visit to  Saudi Arabia.

The defending champions, Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel, are second overall in the first of four Toyota Gazoo Racing Hiluxes and are ideally positioned for a major push over the second week before the event finishes in Qiddiya on January 17th. The Qatari trails leader Carlos Sainz by 7min 46sec and has an 8min 32sec cushion over third-placed Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel.

Overdrive Racing Toyotas currently occupy fourth, 12th, 39th and 43rd places, while Al-Attiyah’s three Toyota Gazoo Racing colleagues – Giniel de Villiers, Bernhard Ten Brinke and Fernando Alonso – are seventh, eighth and 16th overall after their own fair share of punctures and dramas during the first six days of timed action along the Kingdom’s Red Coast and through the deserts around Al Ula and Ha’il in the north-central region of the country.

Al Attiyah said: “It has not been an easy week. The Dakar has been difficult and we have struggled to match our rivals on some of the stages because of the nature of the terrain. I am a little disappointed because we are really going at the maximum. This is a new Dakar and I think we have been doing a really good job, despite several punctures earlier in the week. We’ve finished the first week without any problems and I am quite happy. We’ll see next week. It will be tougher. I think there will be more dunes.”

Yazeed Al Rajhi and Russian navigator Konstantin Zhiltzov suffered flat tyres and navigational delays on the opening day in the leading Overdrive Racing Toyota and found themselves in eighth place. The local star was running fastest on the second stage, before ceding time with another navigational delay and went on to reach Neom in ninth.

The Saudi climbed to fourth with the sixth quickest time on the Neom loop stage after collecting two punctures and a damaged third tyre, and another fourth quickest time pushed the Riyadh driver up to a similar position in the rankings at Al Ula. He maintained that form into Ha’il, even leading the special for a time, and reached Riyadh in fourth place, 36min 46sec off the outright lead.

The French crew of Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot were classified in 18th after the opening stage in the second Overdrive Racing Toyota and maintained a solid pace over the subsequent days to hold 21st after SS2 and 16th after three stages. Chabot climbed three places to 13th into Al Ula and moved up to 12th at the rest day after several solid stage performances.

Peter van Merksteijn and new Ulster navigator Michael Orr were classified in 27th after the opening timed section in the third car, lost further time with three flat tyres on Monday and further minutes on the stage to Neom and slipped to 35th.

The Dutchman continued over the next few days, running lower down the order, and finished the fifth stage into Ha’il in 22nd place, despite starting 66th on the road. He continued the fight back and was 19th on stage six and reached Riyadh in 39th overall.

Experienced Dutchman Erik van Loon and French co-driver Sébastien Delaunay were running as high as 10th overall after the first stage, but Van Loon rolled his Toyota heavily 32km into the fourth special to Al Ula and slipped to 36th overall with the loss of over three hours. His tempestuous Dakar continued when he was forced to carry out repairs to his Toyota after 88km of the next stage, but the crew managed to continue on to Riyadh and held 43rd in the overall rankings, the pair setting the 11th quickest time on stage six.

Positions after SS6

1. Carlos Sainz (ESP)/Lucas Cruz (ESP) MINI John Cooper Works Buggy:
23hr 33min 05sec
2. Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Hilux: 23hr 40min 51sec
3. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) MINI John Cooper Works Buggy: 23hr 49min 23sec
4. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Toyota Hilux Overdrive: 24hr 09min 51sec
5. Orlando Terranova (ARG)/Ronnie Graue (ARG) MINI John Cooper Works Rally: 24hr 16min 57sec
6. Mathieu Serradori (FRA)/Fabian Lurquin (BEL) Century Buggy:
24hr 23min 24sec

حلّ البطل العالمي القطري ناصر بن صالح العطية في المركز الثالث للمرحلة السادسة من رالي داكار الدولي في نسخته رقم 42، والمقامة بالسعودية لأول مرة في الشرق الأوسط، ورغم تراجعه في المرحلة السادسة التي فاز بها الفرنسي ستيفان بيتر هانسل، فإن العطية ما زال يتمسك بالمركز الثاني في الترتيب العام للرالي.

وحقق الفرنسي ستيفان بيتر هانسل على متن «ميني»، فوزه الثاني في فئة السيارات للنسخة الحالية من رالي داكار الصحراوي، وذلك بفوزه في المرحلة السادسة بين حائل والرياض.

فارق مريح في القمة

وتقدم الفرنسي في نهاية المرحلة الممتدة على مسافة 830 كم، بفارق 1:35 دقيقة عن الإسباني كارلوس ساينز «ميني» متصدر الترتيب العام، وحامل اللقب بطلنا ناصر العطية «تويوتا» بفارق 3:22 دقيقة.

وبات الثلاثة، أي ساينز والعطية ثاني الترتيب العام وبيتر هانسل الثالث، يتمتعون بفارق مريح عن بقية المنافسين بعد انقضاء نصف مراحل الرالي الصحراوي الأشهر عالمياً.

ووسّع ساينز الفارق في صدارة الترتيب العام إلى 7:46 دقيقة عن العطية الباحث عن رابع ألقابه في رالي داكار، و16:18 دقيقة عن بيتر هانسل الثالث، في المقابل، يحتل المركز الرابع في الترتيب العام السعودي يزيد الراجحي «تويوتا»، لكن بفارق 36:46 دقيقة عن المتصدر.

وسيخلد السائقون إلى الراحة السبت في العاصمة السعودية، قبل خوض المرحلة السابعة نحو وادي الدواسر في جنوب غرب المملكة.

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