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Dakar Rally Stage 7 - San Juan de Marcona & Back

Every little bit helps for Brabec and Peterhansel
Monday, January 14, 2019

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Stephane Peterhansel won Stage 7 in the car category
Stephane Peterhansel won Stage 7 in the car category

The first loop of stage 7 of the 2019 Dakar Rally had plenty of competitors going around in circles as they tried to find their way back to the bivouac in San Juan de Marcona. With over 300 kilometers of desert racing against the clock there were further fluctuations in the leaderboards by the time the dust had settled.

Getting the job done on stage seven was 13-time Dakar champion Stephane Peterhansel (FRA) and his co-driver David Castera (FRA). Peterhansel went into today’s stage trailing race leader Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) by over 40 minutes – there was no option but attack. A stage win, clawing back close to 12 minutes on Al-Attiyah and moving to second overall represents a good day at the office for Peterhansel.

“We got a bit closer to Nasser, but it'll be very hard to wrestle the lead from him.” – Stephane Peterhansel

It was also one of the better days at the 2019 Dakar for Peterhansel’s companions in the X-raid MINI JCW Team. Carlos Sainz (ESP) collected his second consecutive third place on the stage while Cyril Despres (FRA) was in the Top 5 once again.

“We were able to push a bit towards the end of the stage and we arrived behind Stephane (Peterhansel). That was the plan.” – Carlos Sainz

Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) are now just three stages away from Lima and giving Toyota Gazoo Racing their first Dakar title. They are benefitting from the support of team-mate Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) who is staying as close as possible to Al-Attiyah’s Hilux in case he can offer assistance on the stage.

“We got a puncture on the way home and had a battle finding a few waypoints. But all in all, not too bad. A nice run today.” – Giniel de Villiers

It was a tough stage for Sébastien Loeb (FRA) who was hunting a fourth stage win of this Dakar. The Frenchman lost 40 minutes due to an electrical issue in the first few kilometers. However, when Loeb got going again he was able to show his customary speed and eventually conceded less than half an hour to Peterhansel.

"It's quite demoralizing, we'll see what we can do and what we can fight for in the coming days.” – Sebastien Loeb

After running into trouble on stage six, Sam Sunderland (GBR) bounced back in the best possible way and won today’s stage. The 2017 Dakar winner capitalized on an advantageous starting position to come through the pack with stage seven’s quickest time.

“I started out today with the intention to push a lot.” – Sam Sunderland

Sunderland led home his fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Team riders as they chase down an 18th consecutive Dakar title for the manufacturer. Luciano Benavides (ARG) was Sunderland’s closest team-mate with fifth place on today’s stage taking him to 11th overall.

“I’m happy with the job I did and it’s one more step towards Lima.” – Luciano Benavides

Sam Sunderland won again in Bikes
Sam Sunderland won again in Bikes

In the general classification Toby Price (AUS) is third, 6m55s behind race leader Ricky Brabec (USA). Sunderland is fourth, less than 10 minutes behind Brabec while defending bike race champion Matthias Walkner (AUT) is a further six minutes back.

“The last days at the Dakar are always very difficult.” – Matthias Walkner

A spectacular stage win by Chaleco Lopez (CHI) has set-up a great battle for Dakar glory in the SxS/UTV class. Lopez now trails race leader and defending champion Reinaldo Varela (BRA) by just four minutes with three stages remaining.

“We now just have three days left and everyday will be full gas.” – Chaleco Lopez

It was a bittersweet stage for truck race leader Eduard Nikolaev (RUS). The Team Kamaz Master trucker increased his lead at the front of the rally after misfortune beset his closest rival, and team-mate, Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS). Nikolaev now holds an advantage of over 30 minutes from Sotnikov.

We’re getting down to the business end of things now and potential winners are starting to emerge. It’s time to shake things up!

Following the stage seven rankings, the best 10 bikes, 10 cars and five trucks will start at the same time on stage eight. This is sure to generate plenty of exciting wheel-to-wheel racing.

Quote of the day

Stephane Peterhansel: "At the beginning, we jumped over a dune, which damaged the bonnet and left us with bad whiplash. Navigating was tricky, but I think we did well because we gained time on everyone. We got a bit closer to Nasser, but it'll be very hard to wrest the lead from him. Actually, we don't deserve to be ahead of him because he's doing really well and has made no mistakes so far."

Top-10 Bikes

Pos.No.Drive-TeamMark-ModelTimeBehind
114Sam SunderlandRed Bull Ktm Factory Team03H 51' 41''+ 0.000S
210Jose Ignacio Cornejo FlorimoMonster Energy Honda Team 201903H 53' 32''+ 00H 01' 51''
315Ricky BrabecMonster Energy Honda Team 201903H 58' 11''+ 00H 06' 30''
44Adrien Van BeverenYamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team04H 01' 21''+ 00H 09' 40''
577Luciano BenavidesRed Bull Ktm Factory Team04H 03' 00''+ 00H 11' 19''
629Andrew ShortRockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory04H 03' 10''+ 00H 11' 29''
718Xavier De SoultraitYamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team04H 04' 53''+ 00H 13' 12''
83Toby PriceRed Bull Ktm Factory Team04H 06' 00''+ 00H 14' 19''
911Stefan SvitkoSlovnaft Team04H 08' 02''+ 00H 16' 21''
101Matthias WalknerRed Bull Ktm Factory Team04H 08' 19''+ 00H 16' 38''

Top-10 Cars

Pos.No.Drive-TeamMark-ModelTimeBehind
1304Stephane Peterhansel/ David CasteraX-Raid Mini Jcw Team04H 00' 01''+ 0.000S
2307Nani Roma/ Alex Haro BravoX-Raid Team04H 04' 34''+ 00H 04' 33''
3300Carlos Sainz/ Lucas CruzX-Raid Mini Jcw Team04H 09' 29''+ 00H 09' 28''
4301Nasser Al-Attiyah/ Matthieu BaumelToyota Gazoo Racing Sa04H 11' 59''+ 00H 11' 58''
5308Cyril Despres/ Jean Paul CottretX-Raid Mini Jcw Team04H 12' 51''+ 00H 12' 50''
6302Giniel De Villiers/ Dirk Von ZitzewitzToyota Gazoo Racing Sa04H 16' 32''+ 00H 16' 31''
7303Jakub Przygonski/ Tom ColsoulOrlen X-Raid Team04H 20' 51''+ 00H 20' 50''
8318Wei Han/ Min LiaoGeely Auto Shell Cooper 04H 25' 17''+ 00H 25' 16''
9309Bernhard Ten Brinke/ Xavier PanseriToyota Gazoo Racing Sa04H 25' 46''+ 00H 25' 45''
10305Martin Prokop/ Jan TomanekMp-Sports04H 26' 30''+ 00H 26' 29''

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