RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Sebastian Loeb earned his second stage win of the 44th Dakar Rally Sunday to cut the deficit to overall leader Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Loeb dominated Sunday’s stage, eventually winning the 402km stage by more than five minutes ahead of Al-Attiyah. Loeb now trails Al-Attiyah by more than 44 minutes as the Dakar Rally reaches the halfway point.
“Only half of the rally is done so we’ll keep pushing,” Loeb said. “We were able to make some time up on Nasser today even though we were forced to slow down at the end. I’ll keep doing my best on each stage and we’ll see what this gets us.”
There was drama in the bike category before the stage even began. Daniel Sanders, who started the day third overall, crashed liaison route to the start of the stage. He fractured his left elbow and wrist in the incident, ending his Dakar Rally early.
Jose Ignacio Cornejo ended up winning the bike portion of Sunday’s stage, but it was Adrien van Beveren who moved to the top of the class standings when Sam Sunderland struggled and fell more than five minutes behind. Van Beveren now leads Matthias Walkner by five minutes and 12 seconds.
In the truck race, things tightened up with the three leading Team Kamaz Master drivers all bunching up at the top of the rankings. Stage winner Anton Shibalov is still third overall, but closer to the lead than he was on the rest day. Dmitry Sotnikov remains the class leader, but he is just five minutes ahead of Eduard Nikolaev.