Sainz wins Dakar third stage as Al-Attiyah extends lead

Qaisumah (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) – Carlos Sainz won Tuesday's third stage of the Dakar Rally to mark the first success of Audi's new hybrid car in the gruelling road trip in the Saudi Arabian desert.


While Sainz, 59 and a three-time Dakar winner, celebrated his 40th career stage win Nasser Al-Attiyah tightened his grip on the overall lead.

The Qatari, on the hunt for his fourth title, pulled 37 minutes clear of Sebastien Loeb, who lost a chunk of time when his car's prop shaft broke.

The nine-time world rally champion limped to the finish line after 255 kilometres around Al Qaisumah in 37th place.

"It was a bad day," the French rally veteran said.

"We only had front wheel drive from ten kilometres after the start. We did 250 km like this. Crossing the dunes and all the difficult conditions we had with this two-wheel drive was really tough."

Sainz took the day's honours by over half a minute from South African Henrik Lategan with Dakar legend Stephane Peterhansel guiding his Audi hybrid into third.

Al-Attiyah came in eighth, with Loeb now trailing by 37min40sec.

Portugal's Joaquim Rodrigues won his first ever bike stage in his sixth Dakar ahead of American Mason Klein and his KTM teammate Toby Price of Australia.

The bike standings are led by another KTM rider, England's Sam Sunderland by four seconds from Yamaha's Adrien Van Beveren.

Rodrigues, whose brother-in-law Paulo Goncalves died competing in the 2020 Dakar, is lying 17th,