Dakar day 3 and tough is the norm

South African competitors put their hands up while Al-Attiyah moves into the lead. 

Henk Lategan, Brett Cummings, Brian Baragwanath and Leonard Cremer made their intent clear to move up on the leader board.

Following among the toughest opening two days many care to remember at the Dakar, Tuesday, January 3’s 447km day 3 run through the canyons from Ha’il to Al’ula delivered a torturous day which disrupted the leaderboard for top competitors.

Cars: Chicherit beats Lategan 

Saudi home hero Yazeed Al Rajhi and Michael Orr’s Hilux led Guerlain Chicherit and Lategan early on.

Al Rajhi dropped back to third as Lategan took the lead by passing Chicherit, who started well back on the road after Monday’s troubles. Orlando Terranova and Alex Bravo‘s Hunter followed from Al Rajhi, while overall leader Carlos Sainz Sr and Lucas Cruz’s petrol-electric Audi ran in fifth place early on.

SA crew Baragwanath and steady Stéphane Peterhansel’s Audi followed. Monday’s frontrunners, winner Nasser Al-Attiyah and Giniel de Villiers’ Hiluxes, Mattias Ekstrom’s Audi, and third overnight, Mathieu Serradori‘s Century, however, all struggled as they opened the road. Sebastien Loeb‘s Hunter and overall leader Sainz both lost time when both stopped to remedy car problems.


Lategan was on a mission up front as he chased leader Chicherit, with Terranova, Al Rajhi and Peterhansel and Baragwanath in their wake at mid-distance. There were a few minor place changes, but nothing major through the afternoon. The organisers called off the race at 377km, when a thunderstorm prevented safety helicopters from flying.

So, Prodrive hit back from its blue Monday as Chicherit took Tuesday’s win by three minutes from South African Gazoo Toyota hero Lategan and Terranova in a Hunter 1-3. The duelling Peterhansel, Al Rajhi, and Baragwanath followed, while Al-Attiyah fought back to a provisional 10th to move into the overall lead, with Serradori 14th.

Overall, Al-Attiyah leads Al Rajhi by 13 minutes in a Toyota 1-2 with the ever consistent Peterhansel now looming large in third. Fourth-placed Stefan Vitse and Fabien Lefebvre’s MD buggy leads the rear drive class, with Century pair Baragwanath and Serradori hot on his heels. De Villiers sits seventh from Sainz, with Lategan 11th.

Sanders dominates the bike race 

Aussie Daniel Sanders’ GasGas led the bikes from the get-go from US duo Ricky Brabec’s Honda, and Skyler Howes on a Husqvarna. South African Michael Docherty topped the R2 amateur class on his Husqvarna, as Botswana’s Ross Branch dropped down the order on his Hero. Docherty, however, lost time as Branch slowly fought back.

Sanders controlled the pace from ninth on the road until Brabec crashed out of second around mid-distance. That left Sanders to win by five minutes from Kevin Benavides’ KTM and Howes. In so doing, Sanders swept into a four-minute overall bike lead over Monday leader and fourth on the day, Mason Klein’s BAS KTM, Benavides and Howes.


Branch came home 14th, while Docherty struggled to 39th, but retains his overall rookie lead. His FK Husqvarna teammate and Malle Moto Original class rider Charan Moore had a good day to end 40th to stay second overall in Original. Malle Moto compatriots Stuart Gregory and iron lady Kirsten Landman were still in the stage in 80th and 102nd at the time of publishing, while Stevan Wilken sat 104th.

US lad Mitch Guthrie overcame early T3 Prototype leader Chilean Francisco Lopez, and teammate Seth Quintero, to take a maiden win on Monday’s stage. South African rookies Eben Basson and Abertus Pienaar ended 16th and Geoff Minnitt and Gerhard Snyman 18th. Austin Jones led Quintero on Tuesday, while Minnit sat 18th and Basson 23rd.

Dakar is not getting any easier, either. Wednesday sees another bruising 425km in a loop around Ha’il, starting with dunes described as ‘sheer mountains of sand’ before what the organisers promise to be some tricky navigation later in the day.

Source: MotorsportMedia

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