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Al-Attiyah beats Peterhansel to take Dakar stage 11 win
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 14 - 01 - 2021

Nasser Al-Attiyah has picked up his sixth stage success of the year! Although he trailed by up to almost 3'30'' during the special, the Toyota driver maintained sufficient pace to pip his rival Stéphane Peterhansel at the post. However, Al-Attiyah still trails the Frenchman by quarter of an hour in the general standings.
Meanwhile, Peterhansel was able to withstand the pressure exerted by Al-Attiyah, who is in pursuit mode. The Frenchman possessed a lead of just over 38'' approximately 30 kilometers from the finishing line.
Ahead of Friday's 12th and final stage, Peterhansel heads the overall standings by 15m05s from Al-Attiyah, with a record 14th Dakar win in his sight. Stage 11, which began this afternoon now comprised of a 464km special, a reduction of 47km.
Bahrain Raid Xtreme driver, Nani Romaand co-driver Alex Winocq, completed one of the rally's most difficult stages in 18th place, with a time of 05:01:52, +27:28 behind the leader. This maintains Roma's position as 5th overall for the sixth consecutive stage, +3:15:54 behind the overall leader.
Commenting on arrival at the bivouac in Yanbu, Roma said: "It was not an easy day. We made a few mistakes in navigation, but this is the Dakar Rally. When you make a mistake, the important thing is to remain calm and not to get nervous as that can lead to more errors.
"It was not our day today, but I think everyone lost time at the end with the navigation. This is part of the game — the Dakar is part speed and part navigation and we must find the compromise with both. Tomorrow we will go out like we have done every day, concentrating on navigation and maintaining focus."
Sunderland scored his first stage win of the 2021 Dakar on the shortened 464km Al Ula-Yanbu stage, more than halving the 10-minute deficit he faced to Honda man Benavides.
The British rider, who is chasing a second Dakar win, took control at the 215km mark and from there extended an advantage of 2m40s over Husqvarna's Pablo Quintanilla.
Benavides was third-fastest, dropping 6m24s on Sunderland to give himself a buffer of 4m12s heading into Friday's decisive stage.
Ricky Brabec's hopes of defending his 2020 title look to be fading fast after the American rider conceded six minutes to Benavides and nearly 13 to Sunderland.
Giovanni Enrico has won his second special of the year and has gained just over one minute on general standings leader Manuel Andújar.
More than 25 minutes separate the two quad riders before the last stage and unless there is a dramatic turn of events (like Nicolás Cavigliasso's or Alexandre Giroud's premature exits from the rally), Andújar seems ensured of overall victory.
Only 30 kilometers from the finishing line, Enrico still ledsthe dance, ahead of Andújar who trailed by 1'28''. If the situation remains the same, Andújar will still have a lead of more than 25 minutes over the Chilean in the general standings.
Seth Quintero is without any doubt the revelation in the lightweight vehicle category this year. After becoming the youngest ever stage winner on the Dakar, the American has grabbed his second success on completion of the day's special.
This victory comes slightly too late for Quintero, who was still in second place in the general standings at the end of stage eight before encountering problems.
After 362 km, Seth Quintero remains in the lead but has increased his advantage to more than eight minutes over Chaleco López, who has climbed into second position. Austin Jones trails Quintero by approximately 15 minutes and for the moment has conceded almost six minutes to López!
On completion of the final portion of the truck special stage, in the end Dmitry Sotnikov missed out on the podium for the first time since the first stage and has conceded more than seven minutes to Anton Shibalov.
The Russian climbed to within a little less than 40' of his teammate in the general standings before the final stage finishing in Jeddah, a gap which looks likely to be insurmountable.
Stage twelve of the Dakar Rally will bring the 2021 edition to a close. Drivers must navigate a final 447km stage from Yanbu and crossing the finish line on the shore of the Red Sea in Jeddah, with 227km road and 202km special stage.


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