Sainz plays it safe as weather wipes out Dakar bike, quad stages

Carlos Sainz played it safe dropping 18 minutes on Stage 12

Walkner only won one stage in the 2018 event, but after finishing as runner-up to team-mate Sam Sunderland past year, he has gone one better this time around to add his name into the history books as a Dakar victor. Sherco TVS' only surviving rider rode exceedingly well and finished the stage in a strong position, climbing up to 11th position in the overall rankings.

Despite settling for ninth place, Spaniard Carlos Sainz remained well clear up front, almost 45 minutes ahead of Peterhansel at the top of the overall standings. "I am looking forward to the last stage and want to end on a high". They will cover a distance of 166km of liaison and 120km of special stage before they get to the finish line at the 2018 Dakar.

Al-Attiyah was a further 21 minutes back in the general classification, followed by Toyota Gazoo teammates Bernhard ten Brinke of the Netherlands and De Villiers, who were lying fourth and fifth respectively. My rankings have been improving and I am first in the rookie class as of now, but we will see the final results after tomorrow's finish. Carlos Sainz is on course for the rally victory with a commanding lead.

Lucio Alvarez and Peter van Merksteijn made it four Toyota's inside the top five on the final stage, with Jakub Przygonski the leading of the X-Raid Mini's in sixth, while Martin Prokop took his Ford to seventh ahead of Sebastian Halpern (Toyota), Sainz and Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi (Peugeot).




Commenting on his strong performance, Juan Pedrero said, "I enjoyed the first part of the stage in the sand".

After stage 12 was cancelled for bikes and quads due to weather conditions, Sherco-TVS' Juan Pedrero charged through stage 13 to finish in the 5th position.

Eduard Nikolaev in the Kamaz Master finished third on the day, 1m8s ahead of Iveco rival Federico Villagra, to retake the overall lead from the Argentine by a single second with two stages remaining.

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