1672704085 Carlos Sainz resists in the carnage between the rocks of

Carlos Sainz resists in the carnage between the rocks of the Dakar Rally

Carlos Sainz resists in the carnage between the rocks of

Carlos Sainz emerged unscathed from the trap of rocks and dry rivers on the second stage of the Dakar Rally, a special stage that the organization presented as a formality the day before but later became one of the toughest experienced pilots remember. The many boulders and narrow roads made life harder than expected for the big names in the race. “It was one of the most difficult stages I’ve ever driven, a stage with great concentration, great patience, constantly looking at the stones,” analyzed Nasser Al-Attiyah from Madrid, who was in Al Ula.

The Toyota Qatari used his gap in the starting order to stay in touch with his opponents and scratch the overall leader by several minutes. He won with a time of 5h 01m 26s, overtaking the Dutchman Erik Van Loon (+14s) in the final stretch of the special, a very experienced Dakarian who achieved his best result, fourth place, in the 2015 edition. In a complicated day , in which he had to open the circuit and navigate with a lot of composure, Sainz was satisfied with third place on the stage, mainly because two of his big rivals, Sébastien Loeb and Guerlain Chicherit (BRX), had pushed too much three times flat, no more spare wheels and missed the train of the race.

The Frenchman didn’t hide his anger after the stage. “We drove 150 km at 60 km/h and even if we had a flat tire we used 10% of our potential,” he commented. According to him, the rocks were constant and about the size of a soccer ball. The straps were making her stomach area sore from so much rattling. “It’s frustrating, but we will fight,” he decided despite the great disappointment. A member of the BRX assured that some of the tracks looked like a test track, “worthy of Toni Bou”.

Despite being in the lead, Sainz wasn’t satisfied either: “It was a question of discipline, driving slowly to avoid punctures, because we had a lot of stones”. He also confirmed the impression of his opponents: “There were many test areas”. Al-Attiyah, triumphant, reduced it by five minutes and is 2:12 behind Audi. “It was a day to attack,” he congratulated himself. Stéphane Peterhansel, who also had problems, lost 32:22 minutes and is almost 36:08 minutes behind his Spanish teammate in the overall standings.

Laia Sanz, who was in a great 12th place, had a problem in the penultimate stage (km 386). A wishbone broke and they couldn’t find the right wrench to have it fixed. She was still stranded in the middle of nowhere when night fell on Saudi land. His teammate Carlos Checa arrived at the camp exhausted in a respectable 13th place, but at the same time spoke openly about the apparent carnage on the way to Al-Ula: “Those of us that have arrived and those that are still out there have all suffered greatly. If this keeps up, I can’t wait for the end. Maybe I should slow down a bit because the Dakar really looks as tough as they told us at the beginning.

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