DAKAR Rally, His Highness Al-Attiyah and super Coma – Triumph at hand
The 12th stage of the Dakar rally took place in Argentina and Chile which came to an end with the Spaniard Carlos Sainz on the Volkswagen win. The defending champion, third overall this year, came promisingly 2min 43sec
ahead of the South African Giniel de Villiers on the Volkswagen also, who is second in the overall standings, and 6min 11sec ahead the race leader, Nasser Al-Attiyah finishing the stage on third.
Carlos Sainz was back to his excellence claiming a record-breaking 23rd Dakar Rally stage win in Cordoba. But still it was Nasser Al-Attiyah consolidating his position at the top of the overall standing.
The defending champion comfortably came out on top on the 555km test making it his sixth stage win of the year’s event, moving past the previous record of 22 stage wins by Stephane Peterhansel.
But despite giving away that chunk of time to Sainz, the Qatari driver is well ahead of 48min over De Villiers and Sainz further 32min behind, after loosing his car’s suspension on Thursday’s stage and ample of time laps.
All the three leaders to the race drove the Volkswagen. Al-Attiyah, who was a runner-up to Carlos Sainz last year, tried to keep his emotions in check looking ahead to his first Dakar victory.
“It really was the hardest stage of my life because I had to keep focused and not make any mistakes,” Al-Attiyah said. “Sometimes I was going fast, sometimes slow, because I needed to keep my concentration and keep the same pace.”
In the two wheels category, the final result of the bikes after the 12th stage of Dakar approached Marc Coma, the defending champion, as the elusive winner. The Spaniard on the KTM won the 12th stage at Cordoba
beating his team-mate and rival Frenchman, Cyril Despres on the KTM also, by a margin of 37sec.
With this stage win, Coma now leads Despres by 16min 36sec in the overall standings followed by the Portuguese rider Francisco Lopez on Aprilia further 59min 27sec down. Coma won the 2006 and the 2009 Dakar championship and set
himself up for a third victory on Saturday.
“There is still a 190-kilometer stage left to race tomorrow,” Coma said. “Normally there shouldn’t be any complications, but we still need to race them. It’s there to be done. It just shows that the route has been designed to ensure
that there is suspense up to the end, so we’ll just have to wait and see tomorrow.”
The final stage ends on Saturday in the city of Baradero, north-west of Buenos Aires and the official podium ceremony will be held in the capital on Sunday, where the rally began on 1st January.
The Overall standings, by far, are as follows:
- Nasser Al-Attiyah (Volkswagen) in 43 h 59:30
- Giniel de Villiers (Volkswagen) at 48:21
- Carlos Sainz (Volkswagen) at 1:21 a.m
- Marac Coma (KTM) 49h 57:55
- Cyril Despres (KTM) at 16:36
- Francisco Lopez (Aprilia) at 59:27