Al Rajhi rebounds from crash to win Dakar Rally 7th stage

January 7, 2023 GMT

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Yazeed Al Rajhi rebounded from a costly mishap to win the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally after starting 40th on Saturday.

Nasser Al-Attiyah took it easy and finished 19 minutes behind, and retained his overall lead by more than an hour.

Al Rajhi crashed on Friday and lost five hours making repairs to his Toyota. He tumbled from third overall to 35th, effectively ending the Saudi’s chances of a podium finish for a second straight year.

But he was fast throughout the 333-kilometer special from Riyadh north to Al Duwadimi, that tracked through stony canyons and valleys and finished in dunes.

“It wasn’t easy to start from the back and overtake all the little cars, often going left and right in the wadis, but we did a great job,” Al Rajhi said after his fourth career stage win.

Vaidotas Zala of Lithuania was second on the stage, nine minutes behind, and Guerlain Chicherit was third. The Frenchman lost his way in the closing kilometers and a chance to place second.


The motorbikes were given the day off, and without their tracks to follow, the cars opening the way changed from Al-Attiyah to Sebastien Loeb to Chicherit.

Henk Lategan, second overall, had the sixth best time and made up five minutes on his teammate Al-Attiyah.

Lucas Moraes, the Brazilian running third, had his streak of four successive top-10 stage finishes end when he placed 11th. He made up two minutes to trail Al-Attiyah by 1 hour, 11 minutes.

Loeb was ninth and still about two hours off the lead.

Erik van Loon, winner of the second stage and running 11th overall, was out of the race after rolling his Toyota about 99 kilometers in. He briefly lost consciousness and was flown to hospital with neck pain.


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