2020 Dakar Stage 11 started with an 80 km section that the organisers claimed featured the finest dues of the country. That’s a big statement for a country such as Saudi Arabia that is covered in dunes. Racers had to cover 365 km of open-road section before starting the 379 km of timed special stage that took place between Haradh and Shubaytah.
Just one day after a fourth-place finish on stage 10, Pierre Lachaume rolled his Peugeot when he crested a dune too quickly late into the stage. The Frenchman and his co-driver totalled their car and had to withdraw from the 2020 race with just one stage left to run. They were lying 10th in the general classification going into today.
Cat and mouse
Stéphane Peterhansel posted the fastest time early in the penultimate stage of the 2020 Dakar. Nasser Al-Attiyah pushed hard throughout the first 58 kilometres to post the second fastest time. But the Qatari was over a minute slower than Peterhansel. Al-Attiyah lost two minutes to The Frenchman at km 162.
When the stage was over and all the protagonists at the finish line, Peterhansel claimed his fourth stage in the 2020 Dakar by just 10 seconds over Al-Attiyah. The leading duo gained eight minutes on overall leader Carlos Sainz, who will start the final stage tomorrow with a 10-minute margin. South African Giniel de Villiers was sixth on 2020 Dakar stage 11. Fernando Alonso finished 8th, 16 minutes behind the leaders after his dramatic roll yesterday. See link below to video of the crash.
Peterhansel after the stage commented: “It’s so hard to gain minutes under normal circumstances. On the other hand, navigational mistakes have led to big gaps. We fought hard, we pushed all day long and we gained some time, but not enough. Now, if Carlos can bring it home, it’ll be great for the team.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah currently sitting in second place overall holds a 6-second margin over his French long-time rival as they head into the final stage tomorrow. The Qatari will be aiming to put some clear daylight when the stage starts tomorrow morning. With Sainz just 10 minutes up the road, the result is not yet cast in stone.
Said Al-Attiyah: “We paid dearly for our mistake yesterday. Now we’ll battle Stéphane for second place. Making it so far is already great, there’s one stage to go and we’ll see how it goes.”
Local driver Yazeed Al Rajhi is lying in a solid fourth place with a bit of breathing room to those behind. De Villiers and Ten Brinke have jumped Terranova in the overall standings. The Toyota Hilux pilots lie 5th and sixth, respectively, with Terranova now in 7th place.
Pablo Quintanilla took his second stage win after a duel with Matthias Walkner. The Chilean beat the Austrian by a scant 9 seconds to extend his second-place advantage in the overall standings. Overall rally leader Ricky Brabec conceded almost 12 minutes to stage winner Quintanilla today, but still holds an almost 14 minute lead over his closest rival.
- Al-Attiyah + 10 min 17 sec
- Peterhansel + 10 min 23 sec
- Al-Rajhi +47 min 57 sec
- De Villiers +1 hr 06 min 34 sec
- Ten Brinke +1 hr 17 min 50 sec
- Terranova +1 hr 26 min 44 sec
- Serradori +1 hr 52 min 32 sec
- Seaidan +3 hr 44 min 41 sec
- Han +3 hr 45 min 07 sec