French nine-times world rally champion Sebastien Loeb (Prodrive) won the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally in his favour, on Sunday, while Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota) continued to lead.
The win allowed Loeb to reclaim second place overall from Saudi Yazid Al-Rajhi, although the former’s car suffered engine problems at the end of Sunday’s stage.
“We had problems in the last 50 kilometres, and we were wondering how much we could finish the stage,” Loeb said.
And about the possibility of overtaking Al-Attiyah, who is leading by a comfortable 45 minutes, Loeb said: There is no plan. We will do our part and see how it goes.
Al-Attiyah appears on his way to winning the Dakar Rally for the fourth time in his career, if he does not suffer any accident. He said in this regard: “The priority now is to give everything we have day after day and hope to reap the fruits in the end.”
On the other hand, Al-Rajhi is in third place, more than 8 minutes behind Loeb.
In the bicycle category, Australian Daniel Sanders’ dream of winning the title evaporated after he was out of competition when he fell off his bike at the starting line and was subsequently taken to hospital, but suffers only minor bruises.
On the other hand, the Englishman Sam Sunderland, who started this stage, missed more than 20 minutes, and his Austrian runner-up Matthias Walkner followed suit, but he retained his position.
Frenchman Adrien van Beveren took first place in the general standings at the end of the stage, which was won by Chilean Jose Cornejo Florimo.
“After everything that has happened to me in previous years, I feel great now,” said Van Beveren, who did not complete the rally in his last four participations and finished eleventh in Sunday’s stage.