Dakar 2022, Stage 4: Al-Attiyah wins after late trouble for Sainz
Nasser Al-Attiyah extended his advantage in the 2022 Dakar Rally with victory in Stage 4, as rivals Yazeed Al Rajhi and Carlos Sainz hit trouble late in the stage.
The factory Toyota team led the majority of the 465km special between Al Qaisumah and Riyadh, with three-time Dakar winner Al-Attiyah setting the early pace and teammate Henk Lategan taking over at the third waypoint.
Sainz was the next driver to take to the front, moving clear of the Toyotas at the eighth waypoint, and he quickly built a one-minute lead in his electric Audi.
However, a second victory in as many stages wasn’t to be, a broken bearing on his car forcing him to limp to the finish line.
The Spaniard’s mechanical troubles initially promoted Al Rajhi to a provisional victory in the Overdrive Toyota, the Saudi driver having gone quicker than Al-Attiyah in the 40km stretch between waypoints 8 and 9.
But there was late drama in Dakar when Al Rajhi was hit with a two-minute penalty for overspeeding, allowing Al-Attiyah to come through and take a second stage win of 2022.
The Qatari driver finished just 25 seconds clear of World Rally legend Sebastien Loeb, who recovered from Tuesday’s disaster to finish second for the Prodrive-run Bahrain team.
Sainz was eventually classified third, albeit only 52s down on Al-Attiyah, with Al Rajhi slipping to fifth behind the top X-raid Mini of Yasir Seaidan.
Giniel de Villiers was sixth on the factory Toyota, while Orlando Terranova was classified 10th in the second of the Prodrive cars.
Several cars fell victim to what was the longest stage of Dakar 2022. After trading the top spot for the first half of the day, Lategan stopped 310km into the stage due to a problem with his rear-right wheel, forcing him to call Toyota’s support crew for help.
Stephane Peterhansel is likewise waiting for assistance trucks to arrive after a shock absorber on his Audi broke following a jump. The Frenchman is already out of contention for a record-extending 15th Dakar win having abandoned Sunday’s Stage 1 with unrelated mechanical troubles.
Peterhansel’s teammate Mattias Ekstrom dropped nearly 40 minutes in the stage due to unknown issues, making Sainz the lead Audi driver in the overall standings in 16th position.
Al-Attiyah continues to lead outright in his quest for a fourth Dakar win, with the gap to his nearest rival Loeb remaining roughly unchanged at 38m05s.
The Overdrive Toyotas of Al Rajhi and Lucio Alvarez sit third and fifth respectively, separated by the factory Hilux of de Villiers.
Jakub Przygosnki is now X-raid Mini’s highest-placed representative in seventh, while Terranova continues to hold a spot inside the top 10 in his first outing for the Prodrive team.
Overall standings after Stage 4:
|3||205||Yazeed Al Rajhi||TOYOTA||14:15:17||+00:49:15||00:02:00|
|4||207||Giniel de Villiers||TOYOTA||14:15:19||+00:49:17||00:05:00|
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