Sunday, January 13
The Rest Day at the 2019 Dakar Rally is already a distant memory with over 800 kilometres covered today. The sixth stage of the world’s toughest race got the second and final week of this Dakar underway. The dunes of Peru’s Tanaka region were in unforgiving mood as some high-profile racers saw their chances of success severely dented.
Nine-time WRC winner Sébastien Loeb (FRA) and co-driver Daniel Elena (MON) started the route back to Lima in determined fashioned as they picked up another stage win. The duo’s third stage win of the rally gives them a strike rate of 50 percent at this Dakar and puts the pair second overall.
“It was quite stressful looking for the waypoints because I knew we were winning the stage and we wanted to keep the result.” – Sébastien Loeb
A clean stage for Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) has further increased the Qatari’s cushion at the head of the car race – he leads Loeb by 37m43s. The performance of Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) between Arequipa and San Juan de Marcona has now put their lead at 41m14s over third placed Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA).
“The dunes today were incredible, I’ve never seen anything like that anywhere in the world.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah
Peterhansel conceded 18m49s minutes to Al-Attiyah’s Toyota in the Tanaka dunes. 13-time Dakar winner Peterhansel and his MINI John Cooper Works Buggy ran into trouble and he now has it all to do on the final four stages. Also suffering in the sands today was Orlen Team’s Kuba Przygonski (POL) who came home 90 minutes behind Al-Attiyah.
“Two days ago Nani (Roma) helped me in the fesh-fesh so when I saw him stuck today it was not possible that I wouldn’t stop to help him. I tried to pull him and ended up getting stuck myself for 20 minutes.” – Stéphane Peterhansel
The unenviable task of opening the road today fell to Red Bull KTM Factory Team biker Sam Sunderland (GBR). While the 2017 Dakar winner stuck to his task admirably, the strain of navigating plus a mechanical issue saw the British biker concede time.
“It’s very disappointing to lose time today because I’m happy with how I’ve been riding. I even thought I coped well with the navigation today, but the times will show otherwise.” – Sam Sunderland
Sunderland’s team-mate Matthias Walkner (AUT) enjoyed a better stage and now lies 10m46s off new bike race leader Pablo Quintanilla (CHI). Toby Price (AUS) is still in the fight, 5m17s behind Quintanilla, but a wrist injury is a major cause for concern.
“I’m just trying to keep pace and do what I can. We’re starting to fade a bit now so we’ll see what happens.” – Toby Price
Stefan Svitko (SVK) made a good start to his second week as he continues to climb the bike standings. The Slovakian biker is now up to eighth overall and has not given up on securing a second podium finish of his Dakar career.
“This was a nice stage with lots of dunes. I was close to the Top 5 on today’s stage and this helps in the overall.” – Stefan Svitko
It looked like there was to be a first SxS/UTV stage win for Ignacio Casale (CHI) as the two-time Dakar quad race winner nearly got his second week off to the best possible start. Unfortunately for Casale he ran into problems late on the stage and this opened the door for fellow UTV debutant Chaleco Lopez (CHI) to take the stage win.
The truck contest is still under the control of Team Kamaz Master as Eduard Nikolaev (RUS)and Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) continue to dictate matters. The team-mates both finished in the Top 5 on today’s stage and lead the race with Nikolaev in first and Sotnikov in second place.
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2019 Dakar Rally Car Race Top 5 (after six stages of 10)
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota 21h01m31s
2019 Dakar Rally Bike Race Top 5 (after six stages of 10)
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna 20h45m13s
2019 Dakar Rally Truck Race Top 5 (after six stages of 10)
1. Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) Kamaz 24h28m33s
2019 Dakar Rally SxS/UTV Race Top 5 (after six stages of 10)
1. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP) Can-Am 26h08m53s
2019 Dakar Rally Quad Race Top 5 (after six stages of 10)
1. Nicolas Cavigliasso (ARG) Yamaha 26h12m10s
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “Today we did a good job. We got a bit lost just 15 kilometres from the end of the stage and lost a bit of time here, but nothing too much. It’s now six days without any problems. The dunes today were incredible, I’ve never seen anything like that anywhere in the world. Tomorrow I’ll try to win the stage.”
Stéphane Peterhansel: “It was one big mistake from my side. Two days ago Nani (Roma) helped me in the fesh-fesh so when I saw him stuck today it was not possible that I wouldn’t stop to help him. I tried to pull him and ended up getting stuck myself for 20 minutes. It was completely stupid. After that I was full attack and we had two punctures that held us up. It was not a good day. The time difference between us and Nasser is starting to be really complicated.”
Sébastien Loeb: “It was a hard day, but a good day. We made a few mistakes looking for waypoints. For one waypoint we were on the wrong side of a massive dune so we had to turn around, go back and head down into a valley to reach it from the other side. It was quite stressful looking for the waypoints because I knew we were winning the stage and we wanted to keep the result.
Cyril Despres: “Today we were in Tanaka in Peru and for sure it’s a special place like Fiambalá in Argentina. The dunes are so soft that you can get stuck in any moment. We didn’t see Stéphane (Peterhansel) so we couldn’t stop to help him. We pushed and honestly it was one of the best stages we have done until we got lost looking for a waypoint. This is when a good day became a medium day.”
Carlos Sainz: “This was not a great stage for us. We lost time stopping for punctures. We also had trouble deflating the tyres and this made it so tough to cross the dunes. We ended up driving around and around trying to find a route that would let us pass the dunes.”
Matthias Walkner: “It was a really long and intense day. The pace was really quick because there was the opportunity to make some time back. The navigation in the dunes was tricky, but Sam (Sunderland) made a pretty good job. I was on my own all day and in this situation you don’t know how big or small the gaps are. I just did my best to push hard.”
Toby Price: “The wrist is getting worse and things are really tough out there. The last couple of hundred kilometres were particularly hard. I’m just trying to keep pace and do what I can. We’re starting to fade a bit now so we’ll see what happens. The wrist is very painful and I can’t see that changing for a bit.”
Stefan Svitko: “This was a nice stage with lots of dunes. I was close to the Top 5 on today’s stage and this helps in the overall. I’m happy about this.”
Sam Sunderland: “This was not a good stage to be opening, it was really heavy out there in the dunes. My starting position today was always going to make this a tough day. I had to stop for a little while to fix something on the bike. It’s very disappointing to lose time today because I’m happy with how I’ve been riding. I even thought I coped well with the navigation today, but the times will show otherwise.”
Daniel Nosiglia: “It was a very difficult stage. It was very easy to get lost as there were lots of lines you could follow. It’s great to be here in the second week of the race.”