Audi's electric Frenh driver Stephane Peterhansel and his co-driver Edouard Boulanger of France compete during the Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally 2022 between al-Dawadimi and Wadi Ad-Dawasir in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP
Audi's electric Frenh driver Stephane Peterhansel and his co-driver Edouard Boulanger of France compete during the Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally 2022 between al-Dawadimi and Wadi Ad-Dawasir in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

'Mr Dakar' strikes as title beckons for Nasser Al-Attiyah

By AFP Time of article published Jan 12, 2022

Share this article:

Bisha — The Dakar Rally's record 14-time champion Stephane Peterhansel powered to stage 10 success on Wednesday as only a mechanical meltdown appeared to now stand between Nasser Al-Attiyah and the 2022 title.

The Qatari three-time winner heads into Thursday's penultimate stage 32min 40sec clear of France's nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb.

In the bike category France's Adrien Van Beveren moved to the top of the rankings after a day marked by the premature end of Kevin Benavides' title defence.

Peterhansel, known as 'Mr Dakar', won last year, three decades after his first victory on two wheels in 1991.

The only competitor to win the famed rally in Africa, South America and Asia, Peterhansel was thrilled to land a stage in his Audi hybrid.

"I'm not necessarily a stage hunter, but each Audi driver has now won a stage, and that's fantastic," the Frenchman said.

"When Carlos (Sainz) became the first driver to win a Dakar stage in an electric car, it was a milestone, now we confirmed that performance."

He added: "This is good for morale, not least because it comes after a complicated start to the rally.

"We need to win in 2023. Failure is not an option."

In the bikes race Argentina's 2021 champion Benavides came unstuck 133km into the stage when his KTM suffered a terminal breakdown. Benavides had started the day in fifth, 10min22sec adrift.

Another KTM rider, Matthias Walkner, had a troubling time too, losing the overall lead after finishing quarter of an hour behind stage winner Toby Price.

Van Beveren, on a Yamaha, gave his chances of succeeding Benavides a massive boost by finishing fourth, at three and a half minutes, to reclaim the bike rankings' summit after briefly holding sway at the weekend.

With only two days to go he is almost six minutes clear of Briton's 2017 champion Sam Sunderland.

AFP

Share this article: