Sports Desk, Jan 12 (EFE).- Stephane Peterhansel (Audi) on Wednesday claimed his maiden 2022 Dakar Rally stage win in the 10th leg of the car category of the 44th edition of the race held in Saudi Arabia.
The Frenchman covered the stage held between Wadi Ad Dawasir and Bisha in a time of two hours 52 minutes and 49 seconds, two minutes and six seconds faster than his teammate Carlos Sainz. Orlando Terranova (Bahrain Raid Xtreme) completed the podium.
Despite the victory, Peterhansel remains far from contention as he holds the 47th spot in the general classification – over 68 hours off the pace – having been handed penalties of over 46 hours.
“This is good for morale, not least because it comes after a complicated start to the rally,” he said afterwards. “We need to win in 2023. Failure is not an option.”
“If you lose 1 h 30 to a navigation blunder, even the best car in the world isn’t going to put you back in contention,” he added.
High up in the fight for the title, overall leader Nasser al-Attiyah conceded a further minute and 25 seconds to his closest rival, Sebastien Loeb (Bahrain Raid Xtreme).
The Qatari, who was handed a five-minute penalty for a seat belt infringement committed in the eighth stage, leads the Frenchman by 32 minutes and 40 seconds. Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed al-Rajhi is third, 55′ 48” off the pace.
“We completed the stage without losing too much time. We only conceded a minute to ‘Séb’, so we’ll start in a decent position tomorrow,” al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) said.
“Finishing one minute down on ‘Séb’ in a stage like today or yesterday’s is great. It’s not over yet, there are still two days to go and even a podium spot will be hard to get,” he added.
In the bike category, Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren regained the overall lead after finishing the stage third, behind Australian victor Toby Price and Argentine Luciano Benavides. EFE