Al-Attiyah wins Dakar 4th stage as al-Rajhi handed penalty

Sports Desk, 5 Jan (EFE).- Nasser al-Attiyah on Wednesday (Toyota Gazoo Racing) won the fourth stage of the Dakar Rally after the organizers denied local favorite Yazeed al-Rajhi his maiden win in the 44th edition of the race being held in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Attiyah crossed the finish line of the 707-km stage between al-Qaisumah and Riyadh behind the Saudi (Overdrive Toyota), but the organizers handed al-Rajhi a 2-minute penalty for excessive speed.

The penalty saw Al-Rajhi drop to fifth spot, behind Frenchman Sebastien Loeb (Bahrain Raid Xtreme), Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Audi) who had the lead heading into the final stretch and Yasir Seaidan (X-Raid Mini Jcw Team) respectively.

Despite the time deduction, al-Rajhi still climbed to third in the overall classification, 49 minutes and 15 seconds slower than al-Attiyah. The Qatari now leads Frenchman Sebastien Loeb by 38 minutes and five seconds.

“We are moving in the right direction day after day. We tried to set a high pace,” al-Attiyah said afterwards. “But our plan was not having to open tomorrow because there will be no bikes and, therefore, no tracks.”

“But, even if we falter a bit tomorrow in these conditions, it will put us in a favorable position for the next day,” he added. EFE


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