Dakar 2020, Stage 10: Sainz takes commanding lead

Valentin Khorounzhiy
Spain
Spain

The Haradh - Shubaytah test was due to feature 534 kilometres of timed competition in the Rub' Al Khali desert, but worsening weather conditions forced the organisers to end the competitive running early.

Citing "strong wind gusts" and all safety resources being "already mobilised", the Dakar declared the results of the stage at the 223km mark in the car competition.

However, the first half of the planned full stage proved sufficient for Sainz to make up decisive ground relative to his main rivals Nasser Al-Attiyah and Stephane Peterhansel.

Toyota driver Al-Attiyah, who won the Dakar last year and entered Wednesday 24 seconds behind Sainz, started the stage second on the road behind Peterhansel, and was tasked with following the Frenchman "like glue".

Yet both he and Peterhansel got lost trying to find the 223km waypoint, with Al-Attiyah surrendering nearly 15 minutes.

Sainz, meanwhile, came through without major setbacks, ultimately picking up the stage win and inheriting a lead of 18m10s and 18m26s over Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel respectively in the general classification.

Jakub Przygonski (Mini), Giniel de Villiers (Toyota), PH Sport-run Peugeot privateer Pierre Lachaume and Yazeed Al Rajhi (Toyota) made up the top five on the day.

Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, who was 10th heading into the day, rolled his Toyota two kilometres into the stage, which resulted in a long stoppage and forced Alonso and co-driver Marc Coma to remove the windscreen from their Hilux.

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He arrived at the 223km waypoint over an hour slower than Sainz, and has dropped down to 14th in the standings.

The competitors will now carefully make their way to the Shubaytah bivouac, where they will not be allowed to receive any assistance from their technical crews under the rally's 'marathon stage' rule.

The last two days of the rally are due to feature around 750 timed kilometres.

General classification (top 10):

Pos.

#

Driver / Co-driver

Car

Time

Gap

1

305

Spain
Spain

Carlos Sainz

Spain
Spain

Lucas Cruz

Mini

37h15m37s

2

300

Qatar
Qatar

Nasser Al-Attiyah

France
France

Mathieu Baumel

Toyota

37h33m47s

18m10s

3

302

France
France

Stephane Peterhansel
Paulo Fiuza

Portugal
Portugal

Mini

37h34m3s

18m26s

4

309

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia

Yazeed Al-Rajhi

Russian Federation
Russian Federation

Konstantin Zhiltsov

Toyota

37h56m23s

40m46s

5

311

Argentina
Argentina

Orlando Terranova

Argentina
Argentina

Bernardo Graue

Mini

38h13m16s

57m39s

6

304

South Africa
South Africa

Giniel de Villiers

Spain
Spain

Alex Haro

Toyota

38h18m0s

1h2m23s

7

307

Netherlands
Netherlands

Bernhard ten Brinke

Belgium
Belgium

Tom Colsoul

Toyota

38h31m16s

1h15m39s

8

315

France
France

Mathieu Serradori

Belgium
Belgium

Fabian Lurquin

Century

38h52m58s

1h37m21s

9

324

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia

Yasir Seaidan

Russian Federation
Russian Federation

Alexy Kuzmich

Mini

40h5m5s

2h49m28s

10

330

France
France

Pierre Lachaume

France
France

Jean Michel Polato

Peugeot

40h43m53s

3h28m16s

Trucks: Shibalov sets the pace

Anton Shibalov ended his Kamaz stablemate Andrey Karginov's streak of stage wins in the shortened test, as he outpaced another Kamaz - that of Dmitry Sotnikov - by one minute in arriving to the 223km waypoint.

Karginov, however, gave up only just over two minutes to Shibalov, and retains a 36-minute advantage heading into the final two days.

Despite the short length, it was a bruising stage for podium contender Siarhei Viazovich, who gave up over half an hour in his Maz but still has a 40-minute buffer over Ales Loprais and an hour in hand over Sotnikov in the fight for third place.

SxS: Lopez setback leaves Currie the clear favourite

Red Bull juniors Mitch Gunthrie and Blade Hildebrand finished the stage 1-2 again in their Overdrive OT3s, while their compatriot Casey Currie took a big step towards his maiden Dakar win.

Though he was six minutes slower than the two Red Bull entries - who are both out of the general classification - at the crucial 223km mark, Currie now has over three quarters of an hour in hand over nearest rival Sergey Karyakin.

Defending champion Francisco Lopez had been a bigger threat coming into the day, but lost nearly an hour to a costly puncture.