Sainz wins third Dakar stage as Al-Attiyah extends lead


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Qaisumah (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) – Carlos Sainz won the third stage of the Dakar Rally on Tuesday to mark the first success of Audi’s new hybrid car in the grueling road trip through the Saudi Arabian desert.

As Sainz, 59 years old and three-time Dakar winner, celebrated his 40th career stage victory, Nasser Al-Attiyah tightened his grip on the top of the general classification.

The Qatari, in search of their fourth title, took a 37-minute lead over Sébastien Loeb, who lost quite a bit of time when his car’s driveshaft broke.

The nine-time world rally champion limped to the finish line after 255 kilometers around Al Qaisumah in 37th place.

“It was a bad day,” said the French rally veteran.

“We only had traction before ten kilometers after the start. We did 250 km like that. Crossing the dunes and all the rough conditions we had with this two wheel drive were really tough.

Sainz took the honors of the day by more than half a minute ahead of South African Henrik Lategan with Dakar legend Stéphane Peterhansel leading his Audi hybrid in third.

Al-Attiyah came in eighth, Loeb now trailing 37min40sec.

Portugal’s Joaquim Rodrigues won his very first cycling stage on his sixth Dakar ahead of American Mason Klein and KTM teammate Toby Price of Australia.

The motorcycle classification is led by another KTM rider, the Englishman Sam Sunderland, four seconds behind Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren.

Rodrigues, whose brother-in-law Paulo Gonçalves died during the Dakar 2020, is 17th,

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