2020 Dakar Stage 3 took place in Saudi Arabia earlier today. The 427 km loop-shaped route started and ended in Neom. As it took the competitors to the verge of the Jordanian border. There terrain today included an exploration sequence of canyons and mountains on sandy terrain. On this special, the Dakar will climb it this year’s summit at 1 400 metres in altitude.
It was Nasser Al-Attiyah who set the early pace. The Qatari seemed to be on a charge as he left most of the field is his dust. His closest rival was Carlos Sainz, who ran as close as 11 seconds behind during the middle section of the stage. General standings leader Orlando Terranova relinquished the leader early in the stage as he could not maintain the same pace as the leaders.
At the end of the day it was Sainz who claimed the stage and became the third different driver to win a stage at the Dakar 2020. His margin was 3 minutes 31 seconds over reigning champion Nasser Al-Attiyah, and he heads the Toyota driver by five minutes in the overall classification. Stephane Peterhansel was third home.
Said Sainz: “I think it was a really nice stage, with fantastic landscapes… There wasn’t much time to see it, but it was really nice. Lucas did a really good job with the navigation and we really attacked hard. On the last part of the stage we were opening the way, but it was okay. It’s still really early though. When you see racing on a day like this, anything can happen, you know. We spent a lot of time and a lot of kilometres pushing hard, but you never know – anything can happen any day. The navigation is also tricky, but so far, so good”.
Sainz has now taken over the lead of the event. He has a three-minute cushion over Al-Attiyah. Orlando Terranova has been relegated to third from the top spot after day two; general classification below.
Out of the race
Khalid Al Qassimi, who had entered the day in seventh place, demolished his privateer Peugeot in a roll 300 km into the stage. Vladimir Vasilyev looked on course to enter the top 10 in the general classification before his X-raid Mini caught fire.
Ricky Brabec his rivals in his wake to triumph with a big lead over the rest of the two-wheel pack, allowing him to take command of the rally.
- Al-Attiyah+7 min 55 sec
- Terranova +8 min 09 sec
- Al-Rajhi +18 min 058 sec
- Peterhansel +19 min 00 sec
- Serradori +20 min 56 sec
- De Villiers +23 min 42 sec
- Ten Brinke +33 min 23 sec
- Prokop +48 min 05 sec
- Zala +59 min 59 sec
All images supplied by the ASO.