Carlos Sainz extended his lead in the Dakar Rally to more than 18 minutes after his two main rivals were lost during a stage in which Fernando Alonso, the former Formula One champion, was able to continue despite his Toyota overturning as he passed down a dune.
Spaniard Sainz woke up with a 24-second lead and ended up taking his fourth stage victory of this Dakar. The distance was shortened by strong winds.
Both second Nasser Al-Attiyah and third Stephane Peterhansel lagged considerably behind as they struggled to find a checkpoint.
With two stages remaining to the end of the race, Sainz leads the Qatari who defends the title with 18:10 and 18:26 over the French.
“I did not anticipate having such a big difference, but every day it changes from one place to another, so we will have to be well focused. I can lose myself. What happened to the others can happen to me ”.
Alonso marches in a distant 55th place, more than an hour behind the leaders. His car rolled over on the edge of a dune, circling twice, and ended up with the windshield damaged.
“The Dakar shows you every day that it is a tough race,” said Alonso. But we don’t give up. Nor have we come here to walk. We went out to the race to try to make good times and to try to win stages. It’s what we like to do ”.
American Ricky Brabec continued to increase his lead on motorcycles, now 25 minutes after finishing second on the stage. His teammate, the Spanish Joan Barreda, scored his first stage victory. AP