Sports Desk, Jan 9 (EFE).- Sebastien Loeb on Sunday regained the second spot in the overall classification as he claimed the 7th stage of the Dakar Rally, his second victory of the 44th edition of the race held in Saudi Arabia.
The Frenchman, who has the second stage of the car race category to his name, was the first to cross the finish line of the 701-km stage, in a time of three hours, nine minutes and 32 seconds.
“We had a fantastic special until 50 kilometers before the line, when we started having engine problems (…) but we still came out on top, so no complaints from my side,” Loeb said afterwards.
“We’re not in a position of strength; there are no questions to be answered. There is no strategy. We’ll just do our job and see how it plays out,” he added.
The win allowed the Bahrain Raid Xtreme driver to go back to the second spot, 44 minutes and 59 seconds off the pace, at the expense of Yazeed al-Rajhi (Overdrive Toyota) who dropped to third.
The Saudi finished the stage, stretching between Riyadh and al-Dawadimi, fifth behind overall leader Nasser al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing), Carlos Sainz (Team Audi Sport) and Stephane Peterhansel (Team Audi Sport) respectively.
In the bike category, Chile’s Nacho Cornejo (Honda) prevailed in the 7th stage, 44 seconds ahead of Argentina’s Kevin Benavides (KTM), with Joan Barreda Bort (Monster Energy Honda) completing the podium.
Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren took advantage of Sam Sunderland’s bad day after he ended the stage 25′ 55 off the pace to snatch the overall lead from the Briton ahead of Matthias Walkner and Kevin Benavides respectively.
“I tried to attack wherever I could, but it was a tricky special from the point of view of navigation,” Van Bevern said. “I knew it could pay off handsomely, so I gave it my all. It worked out.”
“I’ll draw upon my experience and stick to the original plan. It’s still far from over, and I intend to push hard until the end. If it all falls into place, it will be fantastic,” he added. EFE