The 2021 Dakar Rally has taken its first trip to the Empty Quarter desert and the dunes had a big say in the general classification. Find out who managed to stay on track and which drivers got lost on Stage Three…
After winning the Prologue and Stage Two, Nasser Al-Attiyah set the fastest time for the third time in four days. Despite opening the road, the three-time Dakar winner and co-driver Mathieu Baumel took a stage win that lifts them to second in the general classification.
« To open the stage and win is always very satisfying. » – Nasser Al-Attiyah
Third place on the stage was enough for Stéphane Peterhansel to maintain his overall lead in the car race. The gap between Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah now stands at just over five minutes.
« This was a complete Dakar stage with a big mix of everything. » – Stéphane Peterhansel
Finishing between Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel on Stage Three was Henk Lategan, a first podium result for the South African.
After a rocky start to the rally things are improving for nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb. A sixth place finish on the stage has elevated the Frenchman to sixth place overall.
« We did a good job. Things were good and the car worked really well. » – Sébastien Loeb
Elsewhere in the car race there was a difficult day for reigning champion Carlos Sainz. A navigation mistake cost him over 30 minutes and has seen him slip back to fourth overall.
« It wasn’t a smooth stage for us, today we lost more than half an hour. Now we must keep going, get our heads down and try to get that time back » – Carlos Sainz
Cyril Despres, Giniel de Villiers and Kuba Przygoński also faced challenges on the stage before successfully crossing the finish line and making their way back to the bivouac.
A 13th Dakar stage win of Toby Price’s career capped off an impressive day for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. Also placed in the Top 5 on Stage Three were Matthias Walkner and Sam Sunderland.
« It’s like a yo-yo at the moment, I’m either right at the front or at the back. » – Toby Price
There was also another strong showing from Dakar debutant Daniel Sanders who took his third Top 10 result of the rally.
« I had a few crashes in the dunes and some navigation errors in the canyons. All in all things weren’t too bad though. » – Daniel Sanders
Also coming through the 403-kilometre loop stage around the Wadi Ad-Dawasir bivouac were bikers Štefan Svitko, Laia Sanz, Camille Chapelière, CS Santosh and Mohammed Jaffar.
Chaleco López has extended his lead in the Lightweight Vehicles category to over six minutes thanks to a stage win today. López and co-driver Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre were able to navigate through the stage smoother than any of their rivals could manage.
« The kilometres were very tough but my co-driver was excellent with the navigation » – Chaleco López
The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team were led home by 18-year-old Seth Quintero who finished fourth on the stage. Cristina Gutiérrez is fourth overall and Mitch Guthrie Jr. recorded a Top 10 result on Stage Three.
« We’ve ended up with a good result and I’m really proud of the whole Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team for the job we have done so far. » – Seth Quintero
Three-time Race of Champions winner Mattias Ekström is currently 14th in the general classification of the Lightweight Vehicles category on his debut Dakar drive.
Dmitry Sotnikov of Team Kamaz Master remains the leader of the truck race. Sotnikov’s advantage over his nearest rival stands at 17 minutes after Stage Three. Sotnikov’s Kamaz team-mate Anton Shibalov is third overall.
« Navigation has been a big challenge at this Dakar. » – Dmitry Sotnikov
Tomorrow takes the Dakar convoy to Riyadh. Before arriving in the Saudi Arabian capital the competitors must cover 856km, with 337km of the total distance against the clock.
STAGE THREE RESULTS
2021 Dakar Rally Car Race Top 5
1. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) – Toyota, 03:17:39
2. H. LATEGAN (ZAF) – Toyota, +00:02:27
3. S. PETERHANSEL (FRA) – Buggy Mini, +00:04:05
4. S. LOEB (FRA) – PBRX Prodrive, +00:13:14
5. M. PROKOP (CZE) – Toyota, +00:13:42…
2021 Dakar Rally Bike Race Top 5
1. T. PRICE (AUS) – KTM, 03:33:23
2. K. BENAVIDES (ARG) – Honda, +00:01:16
3. M. WALKNER (AUT) – KTM, +00:02:36
4. S. HOWES (KTM) – KTM, +00:06:16
5. S. SUNDERLAND (GBR) – KTM, +00:08:24…
2021 Dakar Rally Lightweight Vehicle Top 5
1. F. LOPEZ (CHL) – CAN-AM, 04:20:57
2. A. JONES (USA) – CAN-AM, +00:00:23
3. M. GOCZAL (POL) – CAN-AM, +00:00:24
4. S. QUINTERO (USA) – OT3, +00:01:40
5. K. AL ATTIYAH (QAT) – CAN-AM, +00:02:33…
2021 Dakar Rally Truck Top 5
1. S. VIAZOVICH (BLR) – MAZ, 03:45:14
2. D. SOTNIKOV (RUS) – KAMAZ, +00:00:18
3. A. SHIBALOV (RUS) – KAMAZ, +00:01:16
4. M. MACIK (CZE) – IVECO, +00:01:42
5. A. KARGINOV (RUS) – KAMAZ, +00:03:28…
Toby Price: « It’s like a yo-yo at the moment, I’m either right at the front or at the back. The navigation makes it difficult to lead a stage out and that’s what I’ll be doing again tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll catch a bit of a break and the navigation won’t be as tricky as it has been. »
Daniel Sanders: « I had a few crashes in the dunes and some navigation errors in the canyons. All in all things weren’t too bad though. It was a fast stage and I was catching up to guys in front. I ended riding with a pack and we were all pushing to catch up to the leading guys. I think we all ended up making up some time today. »
Sam Sunderland: « It was quite a fast stage today with a high average speed. A made a few small mistakes in the first part. Other than that I just tried to keep a good rhythm all day. It was very windy out there today so that added to the overall difficulty of the stage. »
Laia Sanz: « My gap to the fastest riders is less today than it was yesterday. I’m getting more confident on the bike and feeling much better. The plan is to try and continue to be consistent. »
CS Santosh: « We’re really getting into the flow of things now. It was a fast race last year and this year has been fast as well so far. There’s also navigation mixed in there as well so you really have to pay attention to the roadbook. »
Matthias Walkner: « It was a really fast stage, I was going flat out at least 80 percent of the time. There was also some really tricky navigation in the canyons. Yesterday was not good so the overall is going to be hard for me now. »
Mohammed Jaffar: « Long stage with rocks, fast track and dunes… everything! I enjoyed every kilometre of the stage. The guys that I overtook in the soft sand got past me on the fast track. I know where I need to improve. »
Nasser Al-Attiyah: « Today we really pushed a lot and made no mistakes. Mathieu (Baumel, co-driver) did good navigation. Everything on the car is working really well. To open the stage and win is always very satisfying. »
Stéphane Peterhansel: « This was a complete Dakar stage with a big mix of everything. We got a puncture on one of the rocky sections so I held back a bit after that. Then we picked up speed in the canyons. My co-driver Edouard (Boulanger) did a great job with the navigation. I’m happy with the car and the team is working well. »
Sébastien Loeb: « We did a good job. It was just at the end where we lost a few minutes turning around to find a waypoint. We also had a few punctures, but apart from this things were good and the car worked really well. It sounded like some of the other guys had trouble so we will see where we’ve ended up in the overall. »
Cyril Despres: « I have to say I’m happy with the job of Mike (Horn) today, we did well. It’s our first time in the Top 10 so that’s a good day for us. »
Carlos Sainz: « It wasn’t a smooth stage for us, today we lost more than half an hour. It’s a big amount of time to lose so it’s a pity, but it’s like that at the Dakar. Now we must keep going, get our heads down and try to get that time back if we can. »
Giniel de Villiers: « It doesn’t seem like luck is on our side. We were going really nicely and then the rear driveshaft broke in the dunes. It took quite a look time to change the driveshaft because the wind was blowing a lot. After that we were in the dust of a couple of trucks and picked up a couple of punctures. Hopefully tomorrow we can have a clean day. »
Kuba Przygoński: « Today our problem was with the tyres. We got three punctures at the beginning and after that we were really slow because we didn’t have any more spares. It’s great to get to the finish because if we had one more puncture we would have been in trouble. »
Chaleco López: « The kilometres were very tough. We suffered a puncture. My co-driver was excellent with the navigation on the second part. We were able to go fast to the finish line. »
Seth Quintero: « Things started off pretty rough with a flat early on. We tried to put on a hard charge and we got past a few cars. After the fuel stop we ended up getting a little lost along with a group of 15 or 20 others. We’ve ended up with a good result and I’m really proud of the whole Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team for the job we have done so far. »
Dmitry Sotnikov: « Navigation has been a big challenge at this Dakar. We’re paying attention to find the right direction and checking the road for any traps. So far our tactics have been working. »