SHUBAYTAH, Saudi Arabia – Spain’s Mini driver Carlos Sainz clinched on Wednesday the 10th stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally in cars, while Honda’s Joan Barreda won in the bike category.
It took Sainz, who leads the general rankings, two hours, 3 minutes and 43 seconds to finish stage 10, taking him a step closer to winning his third Dakar Rally.
This was three minutes and five seconds ahead of Mini’s Jakub Przygonski, with Toyota’s Giniel de Villiers and Peugeot’s Pierre Lachaume in third and fourth, respectively.
Mini driver Stephane Peterhansel, who won the previous stage, and defending champion Nasser al-Attiyah (Toyota) lost time while looking for the right way, crossing the finish line 10th and 17th respectively.
Toyota’s Fernando Alonso crashed early into the stage when the two-time Formula One champion was crossing a sand dune.
The Spaniard was forced to stop for over an hour and then resumed driving without a windshield.
In the bike category, Ricky Brabec of Honda, who maintains the top spot in the general rankings, finished second, a minute and seven seconds off the pace.
Honda’s Kevin Benavides came in third, followed by KTM’s Toby Price and Luciano Benavides.
Husqvarna’s rider Pablo Quintanilla, who claimed the ninth stage, crossed the finish line seventh, five minutes, 58 seconds slower than the stage winner.
Dakar’s 10th stage took place between oil enclave Haradh and Shubaytah, a military base located near the Saudi border with the United Arab Emirates, in the middle of the Empty Quarter, the world’s largest sand desert made up of 650,000 square kilometers (250,000 square miles).
The 2020 Dakar Rally is being held in Saudi Arabia, with 12 stages from Jeddah to Qiddiya playing out between January 5-17.
This is the first edition of the race to take place in Asia and the second in a row to be held entirely in one country after Peru.