LIMA, Peru — Nasser Al-Attiyah appears set to win the Dakar Rally once more whereas Toby Price was the newest rider to take the motorcycle lead after the eighth stage on Tuesday.
Other than a gradual puncture, Al-Attiyah stayed remarkably blunder-free once more on the 360-kilometer, four-hour course from San Juan de Marcona north up the Peruvian coast to Pisco. He prolonged the lead he is held for all however at some point from 29 minutes to 46.
Barring a serious mistake he hasn’t regarded like making, the Qatari will win the world’s hardest rally for a 3rd time on Thursday after taking the title in 2011 and 2015. He is been runner-up three different occasions, together with final yr.
The person he regards as his greatest rival, 13-time champion Stephane Peterhansel, discovered hassle together with the likes of defending champion Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres within the dunes of Ica. Peterhansel acquired caught within the sand twice and misplaced half an hour, dropping him from second within the basic standings to fourth, 53 minutes behind Al-Attiyah.
“Possibly there are different drivers which can be sooner, however our important goal is Stephane,” Al-Attiyah stated. “Now he’s behind, so we’ll strive to handle the subsequent two days.”
Peterhansel can nonetheless combat for a podium place with Nani Roma and Sebastien Loeb, who’re solely seven minutes forward of him. The remainder of the dwindling subject is greater than an hour behind.
Loeb won the stage, his fourth of the rally, by seven minutes from Al-Attiyah. Loeb endured an early puncture however in any other case loved a clear stage.
Price, who opened the motorcycle race in sixth place and has stayed in contact with the leaders, lastly bagged the lead nearly by a strategy of elimination.
In a single day leader Ricky Brabec was out of the race after 56 kilometers when his Honda engine broke, the identical destiny he suffered final yr.
Price led for many of the stage till close to the tip when he was overtaken by defending champion Matthias Walker, the stage winner, and Pablo Quintanilla, 45 seconds again in second. Nonetheless, Price, third on the stage, moved into the general lead.
He won the Dakar at his second try in 2016 — the primary Australian champion — and got here to this Dakar having won his first cross-country rallies world title and the Morocco Rally. However, not like Al-Attiyah, he has no respiration house right here.
“Immediately, I knew it had to depend,” Price stated. “That was my most … I can not do any extra. My wrist is on hearth. There’s occasions when you’ll be able to relaxation and when you’ll be able to’t. You have simply acquired to in some way shut (the ache) off. If you throw your helmet on you go and journey and simply need to do the very best you’ll be able to, and do all of it once more.”
Quintanilla, chasing his first Dakar title, was solely a minute behind, and defending champ Walkner and 2017 champ Sam Sunderland have been six minutes again. Adrien van Beveren, who was second in a single day, made navigation errors and fell to fifth however was lower than 10 minutes behind. No person can afford a mistake.