C arlos Sainz has to wait for his first stage win. For the fourth time the Spaniard had to settle for second place in the daily standings. However, 'El Matador' will be able to cope well. Stéphane Peterhansel caught up 47 seconds on Sainz, but with more than two hours behind in the overall standings, the BMW driver is still hopelessly behind.
Sainz extends the lead
Much more important for Sainz is the view of the competition from his own stable. The first pursuer, Nasser Al Attiyah, lost 11:34 minutes on the lead over the 418 kilometers from Antofagasta to Iquique. This tripled his deficit on Sainz to over 15 minutes. The third driver from the leading Touareg trio is also slowly losing touch. Mark Miller's deficit increased by more than eight minutes on Thursday (7.1.). It seems that the US boy can only fight for second place against Al Attiyah at the moment.
However, not everything is going perfectly for Volkswagen either. The Brazilian duo Maurício Neves /Clécio Maestrelli retired after a rollover. The duo had to be rescued from the Race Touareg in severe pain. According to the team, the driver and co-driver are 'doing well under the circumstances'. Maurício Neves had been taken to a hospital for a check-up. 'A typical Dakar day today. It's good that Neves didn't suffer any serious injuries. That shows how well the Race Touareg is built,' said VW sports director Kris Nissen, commenting on the day's events in the evening in the bivouac Peterhansel plows through the field
Although he was able to extend his lead at the top of the overall standings, Sainz was not entirely satisfied with the stage of the day. The former world rally champion complained that he lost time in the dust of Miller for a long time and could only overtake him shortly before the end of the stage. But the winner of the day Peterhansel could not drive freely either. The Dakar record champion had to fight his way past no fewer than eleven competitors.
In the battle for fourth place, Hummer driver Robby Gordon suffered a minor setback. The American was more than 49 minutes behind on the day's stage and dropped two places to sixth. Things went better for his rivals Carlos Sousa (+21.29 min.) And Krystof Holowczyc (28.09 min.), Who were both able to move up one position.
Motorcycle pilot Manca has a hard crash
In addition to VW pilot Neves, another pilot had to be evacuated by rescue helicopter on Thursday. The Italian Luca Manca fell twice, and on the second descent he hit the handlebars so badly that he lost consciousness and had to be reanimated. The doctors put the KTM rider into an artificial coma. The state of health is still critical, it is said. Manca had made positive headlines the day before when he selflessly passed on his rear wheel to his better-placed brand colleague Mark Coma. Coma won the day's stage, but like the rest of the field is clearly behind front runner Cyril Despres, who finished the day in second.