Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
8 Jan 2018
8:53 pm

Giniel loses ground in Dakar but his team still in the frame

Wesley Botton

Qatari legend Nasser Al-Attiyah lurking for SA's Toyota Gazoo team but the bikers remain very much on the fringes.

Toyota's South African driver Giniel De Villiers and German co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz compete during the 2018 Dakar Rally Stage 2 in and around the Peruvian town of Pisco, on January 7, 2018. The 40th edition of the Dakar Rally will take competitors through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina until January 20. / AFP PHOTO / Franck FIFE

Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah surged back into contention on Monday, winning the third stage of the Dakar Rally for local outfit Toyota Gazoo Racing, while South African teammate Giniel de Villiers lost some ground.

Al-Attiyah covered the 296km timed section in 3:09:08, as the quickest competitor on the day, more than four minutes faster than Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel who took the overall lead in the general classification.

While Peugeot held three of the top four places, Al-Attiyah moved into third spot for the Toyota team.

De Villiers dropped two places to fifth overall, after finishing sixth on the stage, and Dutch teammate Bernhard ten Brinke climbed to seventh.

Argentine driver Lucio Alvaraz and South African navigator Rob Howie clawed their way back, after overturning their vehicle on stage two, ending 10th on the third leg as they settled in 17th position.

On the bikes, Donovan van der Langenberg was the first South African on the stage, taking 61st position on his KTM, though Husqvarna rider David Thomas continued to lead the SA contingent by holding on to 60th spot overall.

Thomas was more than two hours behind British rider Sam Sunderland, who reclaimed the two-wheel lead after Spaniard Joan Barreda reportedly got lost.

The fourth stage on Tuesday includes a 114km liaison section, followed by a 330km special in San Juan de Marcona.

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