Dakar Rally Stage 9 - Pisco and back to Pisco
There was a fair amount of chaos in the Peruvian dunes on the penultimate stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally. For many it was a final chance to claw back some serious time on their rivals. The soft sands of Pisco ended up biting hard and took the Dakar’s most successful ever competitor out of the race.
13-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel (FRA) and co-driver David Castera (FRA) started stage nine in determined fashion. They had fallen out of the podium positions on the previous stage and were battling to get back into the Top 3. Unfortunately, their MINI John Cooper Works Buggy suffered a hard impact in the dunes after 26 kilometers of the stage and the pair’s Dakar ended right there.
“We came over a dune and landed head-on in the next dune. Everything went so fast that David (Castera), who was looking at the roadbook at that moment, didn’t expect the impact.” – Stephane Peterhansel
The men Peterhansel was chasing were race leaders Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and Mathieu Baumel (FRA). This duo in their Toyota Hilux suffered no such problems as their near faultless Dakar drive continued today. The 2015 Dakar winners are now just one stage away from recapturing their crown.
Al-Attiyah is being supported every step of the way by his Toyota team-mate Giniel De Villiers (ZAF). De Villiers is sticking as close as he can to Al-Attiyah out on the stage, just in case he can lend a hand along the way.
“We just tried to follow the tracks of Nasser in case he needed us, but he did a great job. For us as a team our aim is to get Nasser to the line in first place.” – Giniel De Villiers
Bouncing back from a tricky start to the Dakar’s second week has been Kuba Przygonski (POL). The 2018 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup winner capitalized on misfortune for Peterhansel, Sebastien Loeb (FRA) and Cyril Despres (FRA) today. The Pole now sits fourth overall with a single stage remaining, 31m behind Loeb who occupies the final podium place.
“We’re so happy that we’ve been able to be competitive in our car against the other teams.” – Kuba Przygonski
The latest episode of Dakar Daily covers all the stage nine action in the dunes and in the bivouac, watch it on Red Bull TV right now.
The mass start in the bike race saw the top riders grouped together on the stage. This was good news for race leader Toby Price (AUS) who only conceded one second to his closest rival Pablo Quintanilla (CHI). Price now has a lead of 1m02s to protect on the final run to Lima.
“Today was all about being smooth and consistent, there wasn’t really the chance to break away. I just needed to keep everyone in sight and that’s what we managed to do.” – Toby Price
Third overall in the bike race is defending champion Matthias Walkner (AUT) who, like Price, has been carrying an injury during the race. With Price’s broken bone in his wrist and Walkner’s damaged ankle, to see these two on the podium at the end of the rally would represent a monumental achievement.
Price and Walkner’s fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Team riders – Sam Sunderland (GBR), Luciano Benavides (ARG) and Laia Sanz (ESP) – are all in and around the Top 10. A clear demonstration of the team’s rally-raid quality as they chase their 18th consecutive Dakar victory.
“There was some chaos at the beginning. We started as the first 10 bikes all together in the dunes. I got lost for about five minutes in the fog and after that I pushed a lot to catch the front group.” – Luciano Benavides
On course for victory on his Dakar debut in the SxS/UTV class is Chaleco Lopez (CHI). The Chilean driver takes an advantage of nearly an hour over second placed Gerard Farres Guell (ESP) into the final stage.
“We’ll take care now on the final stage, watch out for the tires. Only at the finish line will we stop to reflect on our result.” – Chaleco Lopez
There was another twist in the battle between the two Team Kamaz Master truckers vying for supremacy at this edition of the Dakar. Reigning champion Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) took the overall lead back off team-mate Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) after besting his time on stage by 27 minutes.
Now only tomorrow’s final stage of 112 kilometer's separates the convoy from the finish line. It’s still one more tricky day to navigate before successful competitors can look back on a job well done. It’ll take nerves of steel to secure that spot on the podium once and for all. And then the party can get started!
2019 Dakar Rally Car Race Top 5 (after nine stages of 10)
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