– Third place for Peterhansel
– Five MINI race cars in the top ten
The seventh leg of the 2020 Dakar Rally, from Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir, saw Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz (both ESP) pick up their third stage win in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy. In doing so, they extended their lead in the overall standings. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) and Paulo Fiuza (POR) finished third in their MINI JCW Buggy.
Three MINI John Cooper Works Rally crews made it into the top ten: Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) finished eighth, ahead of Orlando Terranova and Ronnie Graue (both ARG) in ninth place. They were followed in tenth place by Yasir Seaidan (KSA) and Alexey Kuzmich (RUS).
Sainz lost time at the start of the stage and found himself back in eighth place at one point. However, he fought back to take the lead with roughly 200 kilometres remaining and never looked back. « The pace was very high today, » said the Spaniard. « We were able to go full-throttle a few times today. »
Victory on day six meant Peterhansel and Fiuza had to open stage seven. Despite this, they were constantly among the leading group and were third fastest at the finish. « Today’s stage was really fast, over 550 kilometres in less than four hours, » said Peterhansel. « You have to be particularly focussed at those kind of speeds, as even a small mistake can mean it is all over. We had no problems with the navigation. »
Przygonski was 16th onto today’s stage and set a furious pace from the word go. « I think we were at full throttle for 90% of the time today, » said the Pole. « The route was really simple and not particularly demanding technically. We were able to make good progress from the back and overtake a few cars. »
Terranova and Graue tightened their grip on fifth place in the overall standings with ninth place on stage seven. « Today’s stage was pretty easy – both for the driver and the navigator, » said Terranova. « I picked up a few issues with my neck on the leg before the rest day so I need to get on top of them as soon as possible, in order to be able to push hard again during the last days. »
For a while, Seaidan and Kuzmich surprised all for a while. The MINI JCW Rally crew was extremely fast midway through the stage and actually topped the times. « The stage was quick, but with a lot of dunes, » said the Saudi. « We were very good at the start, but unfortunately we then suffered three punctures. Despite that, I am still happy with today’s result. » Tenth place on today’s stage keeps them in ninth place overall.
Today’s race day is overshadowed by the death of Paulo Gonçalves. The X-raid team mourns the loss of a true Dakar legend – our deepest sympathy goes above all to his family and friends.
The teams remain in Wadi Al Dawasir tomorrow, while the drivers complete a loop around the bivouac. After 132 kilometres of liaison stage, they face 477 kilometres against the clock on the eighth special stage of this year’s rally. They then travel 107 kilometres back to the bivouac.
Dakar Rally – Result SS7
1. C. Sainz (ESP) / L. Cruz (ESP) MINI JCW Buggy – 4h 16m 11s
2. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 4h 18m 23s
3. S. Peterhansel (FRA) / P. Fiuza (POR) MINI JCW Buggy – 4h 19m 04s
4. B. Ten Brinke (NDL) / T. Colsoul (BEL) Toyota – 4h 19m 09s
5. Y. Al-Rajhi (KSA) / K. Zhiltsov (RUS) Toyota – 4h 23m 47s…
8. J. Przygonski (POL) / T. Gottschalk (GER) MINI JCW Rally – 4h 27m 52s
9. O. Terranova (ARG) / B. Graue (ARG) MINI JCW Rally – 4h 28m 15s
10. Y. Seaidan (KSA) / A. Kuzmich (RUS) MINI JCW Rally – 4h 29m 43s…
15. V. Zala (LTU) / S. Jurgelenas (LTU) MINI JCW Rally – 4h 40m 22s…
17. D. Krotov (RUS) / D. Tsyro (UKR) MINI JCW Rally – 4h 42m 58s…
20. A. Dorosinskiy (RUS) / O. Uperenko (LVA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 4h 45m 08s
Dakar Rally – Overall result after SS7
1. C. Sainz (ESP) / L. Cruz (ESP) MINI JCW Buggy – 27h 49m 14s
2. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 27h 59m 14s
3. S. Peterhansel (FRA) / P. Fiuza (POR) MINI JCW Buggy – 28h 08m 27s
4. Y. Al-Rajhi (KSA) / K. Zhiltsov (RUS) Toyota – 28h 33m 38s
5. O. Terranova (ARG) / B. Graue (ARG) MINI JCW Rally – 28h 45m 12s…
9. Y. Seaidan (KSA) / A. Kuzmich (RUS) MINI JCW Rally – 30h 02m 57s…
16. A. Dorosinskiy (RUS) / O. Uperenko (LVA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 31h 46m 00s
17. D. Krotov (RUS) / D. Tsyro (UKR) MINI JCW Rally – 31h 48m 24s
18. V. Zala (LTU) / S. Jurgelenas (LTU) MINI JCW Rally – 32h 25m 23s…
28. J. Przygonski (POL) / T. Gottschalk (GER) MINI JCW Rally – 36h 24m 48s