Dakar Rally: Loeb, second stage champion

Dakar Rally: Loeb, second stage champion
Dakar Rally: Loeb, second stage champion
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Qaisumah (Saudi Arabia): French Sebastien Loeb (Prodrive) won the second stage of the Dakar Desert Rally on Monday in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Loeb cut the 338 km stage distance between Hail and Qaisumah in three hours and 25 minutes, three minutes and 28 seconds ahead of Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota), the champion of the first stage on Sunday, and five minutes and 52 seconds ahead of the Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Audi).

The other Frenchman, Stephane Peterhansel (Audi), came fourth, with a difference of seven minutes and 56 seconds, while the Saudi Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Overdrive Toyota) came sixth, with a difference of eight minutes and 41 seconds.

“The road was good and visible the whole time and in the end it became a real competition between two drivers in the World Rally Championship,” said Loeb, 47, upon his arrival.

He added, “I was able to regain the difference little by little, without a doubt because (Al-Attiyah) was opening the way.”

“It’s easier when you’re late, so if I follow him, I can follow him easily, if he follows me if I overtake, he can follow me easily. So I’d rather him take the risks instead of me.”

Al-Attiyah remained at the top of the general standings with a time of six hours, 59 minutes and 21 seconds, nine minutes and 16 minutes behind Loeb, who was second in the first stage.

In the motorcycle category, Spain’s Juan Barreda Porte (Honda) took first place with a time of 3 hours 31 minutes 20 seconds, five minutes and 33 seconds ahead of Briton Sam Sunderland.

This is Burt’s 28th victory in the rally.

“Today the only option was to press after the big mistake I made yesterday, but we’re only on day two,” he told the race’s official website.

“For sure, we’ll have a lot of long days with hard commuting. So for me today it was good to get a good feeling back. Dune bashing is always fun, so I tried to enjoy the whole stage.”

On the other hand, Sunderland’s consolation was in taking the lead in the general classification from French Adrian van Beveren, by two minutes and 51 seconds, taking advantage of the latter’s eighth place today.

“It’s always good to drive, but we still have a long way to go,” Sunderland told the race website.

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