Sports Desk, Jan 6 (efe-epa).- Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah gave Toyota Gazoo Racing its third consecutive stage victory in stage four of this year’s Dakar Rally in the car category on Wednesday.
The winner of the prologue and stages two and three extended his streak in Saudi Arabia by winning the section on Wednesday, between Wadi Ad-Dawasir and Riyadh, with 476 kilometers on link sectors and 337 on specials.
Al-Attiyah beat the driver at the top of the general leaderboard, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel, by 11 seconds, and he still holds the lead in the classification with 4 minutes and 58 seconds ahead of the Qatari.
The Spanish Carlos Sainz (X-Raid Mini JCW), reigning champion, is third with a disadvantage of 36:19 in the general standings, after having lost almost three minutes in the longest stage of this edition.
The Spaniard was leading the race at the first checkpoint, located at kilometer 43, and was in second place at the penultimate one, located at kilometer 298.
In the final kilometers, however, he could not secure podium position and finished behind the Qatar Nasser Al-Attiyah, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel, South African Henk Lategan and also Frenchman Sebastien Loeb.
Sainz, last year’s champion and the first stage winner in this edition, gave up 2:56 on Al-Attiyah and could not overcome the navigation error he made on Tuesday, when he lost 31 minutes.
His compatriot Joan Barreda did manage to recover from a fateful Tuesday showing after winning Wednesday’s motorcycle category. Barreda, who had already finished first in the second stage, recovered his best form to win with a finish time of 2 hours, 46 minutes and 50 seconds.
He was almost second in the overall standings, just 15 seconds behind Frenchman Xavier de Soultrait (Husqvarna). The leader lost 7:19 to the Spaniard on the final day.
The winner of the fourth stage, the longest of this edition, went for the win with determination and already set the best time at the first checkpoint, located at kilometer 43.