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Stage report

Dakar 2023: Loeb continues winning streak on Stage 11, Al-Attiyah leads

Sebastien Loeb continued his impeccable form in the 2023 Dakar Rally on Thursday’s 11th test as he claimed his fourth stage victory in succession, while Nasser Al-Attiyah maintained his lead in the overall standings.

Bahrain Raid Xtreme driver Loeb was untouchable in the 274km special between Shaybah and Empty Quarter, throwing caution to the wind in the first part of the two-day marathon stage to score a 2m16s victory over GCK Motorsport's Guerlain Chicherit.

Loeb had pulled out of a lead of over a minute just 63km into the stage and his advantage peaked at 3m06s at two-thirds distance, but he lost some time in comparison to his rivals through to the two final checkpoints of the stage, which took drivers to Saudi Arabia's infamous sand desert.

The result marked Loeb's fifth stage victory of the 2023 Dakar Rally, two more than his nearest competitor Al-Attiyah, as well as the 21st of his career, in a stunning recovery drive from a string of punctures and a rollover in the first week that had left him out of running for the overall win.

Behind Loeb, Chicherit was able to secure a 1-2 result for the Prodrive Hunter after leapfrogging the sole-surviving Audi of Mattias Ekstrom at the penultimate checkpoint, the gap between the two drivers just 10 seconds at the finish line after 274km of racing against the clock.

Fourth place on the stage went to debutant Lucas Moraes, who once again impressed on his Overdrive-run Toyota Hilux to finish 6m12s off the lead.

Qatari driver Al-Attiyah cruised to a fifth-place finish on his factory Toyota, conceding 6m42s to Loeb in the process but maintaining a healthy lead in the overall standings.

Al-Attiyah's teammate Henk Lategan finished next up in sixth, while seventh place was occupied by another driver on the Toyota Hilux, local Yazeed Al-Rajhi driving the customer Overdrive example.

#200 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mathieu Baumel

#200 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mathieu Baumel

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Matthieu Serradori (Century), Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) and Martin Prokop (Benzina) rounded out the top 10.

In the general classification, Al-Attiyah holds a reduced but still substantial 1h21m04s led over Moraes, with the Qatari driver poised to secure his fifth career victory in Dakar, and second since the rally-raid moved to his neighbouring country of Saudi Arabia.

Loeb's winning streak in the second half of the rally has moved him within 10 minutes of Moraes, giving him a real shot of equalling his best-ever finish in Dakar from 2017 and '22.

Lategan and de Villiers continue to hold fourth and fifth positions respectively in one of Toyota's strongest outings yet in Dakar, while Prokop has overtaken Romain Dumas for sixth position in the overall standings.

Baragwanath (Century), Wei Han (Hanwei) and Overdrive's Juan Cruz Yacopini remain the final drivers inside the top 10.

Classification after Stage 11:

Position

Driver

Car

Time / gap

1

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Toyota

39hr16m33s 

2

Lucas Moraes

Toyota

+1hr21m04s

3

Sebastien Loeb

Prodrive

+1hr30m41s

4

Henk Lategan

Toyota

+1hr49m17s

5

Giniel de Villiers

Toyota

+2hr14m18s

6

Martin Prokop

Benzina

+2hr53m59s

7

Romain Dumas

Rebellion

+3hr03m54s

8

Brian Baragwanath

Century

+3hr23m31s

9

Wei Han

SMG

+3hr54m07s

10

Juan Cruz Yacopini

Toyota

+4hr08m31s

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