Serradori edges Alonso to Dakar stage eight win, Sainz holds lead

Rally

Mathieu Serradori edged Fernando Alonso to top the eighth stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally, amid a low-key showing for the marathon’s leading contenders.

Serradori claimed a first-ever stage win for himself and his South African-built Century CR6 buggy in the 474km loop around Wadi ad-Dawasir.

Though he was only one of several drivers with similar frontrunning pace in the early parts of the stage, Serradori was in a league of his own in the second half and finished four minutes faster than Alonso’s Toyota.

The two-time Formula 1 champion nevertheless recorded his best Dakar stage finish yet, having previously been classified no higher than fourth.

The stage win has allowed Serradori to overhaul another Toyota driver Bernhard ten Brinke for seventh place in the general classification, with Serradori having surrendered the spot on Sunday after getting stuck on a dune.

Opening the road after his victory in the seventh stage – and with no bike tracks to follow given their stage was cancelled in the aftermath of the passing of veteran rider Paulo Goncalves – rally leader Carlos Sainz (pictures above) endured a difficult start to competition on Monday.

Over the first 150 kilometres, Sainz lost 15 minutes relative to the fastest runners, and eight relative to his nearest rival – Toyota’s reigning champion Nasser Al-Attiyah.

But having been passed by both Al-Attiyah and the fellow X-raid Mini buggy of Stephane Peterhansel in the stage, and with the threat of losing his overall lead looming large, Sainz recovered and caught up to his two main adversaries, and the trio finished in close proximity.

And though he wound up 19 minutes slower than Serradori on the day, Sainz gave up just over three minutes to Al-Attiyah and six to Peterhansel, meaning he retains a 6m40s lead over the former in the general classification.

Mini driver Orlando Terranova and the Toyota pair of Giniel de Villiers and Yazeed Al-Rajhi completed the top five on the day behind Serradori and Alonso.

The trio remain in pursuit of Sainz, Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel in the overall race, but Al-Rajhi, who sits best of the rest in fourth, remains over half an hour adrift of the marathon leader.

Mini driver Yasir Seaidan – ninth in the overall standings – was in the mix for the stage win for much of the day, but lost 40 minutes after getting stuck in the sand with 50 kilometres left to run.

Leading stage eight times

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 C Mathieu Serradori SRT Racing Century/? 3h48m23.s
2 C Fernando Alonso Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 4m04.s
3 C Orlando Terranova X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 6m19.s
4 C Giniel de Villiers Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 6m29.s
5 C Yazeed Al-Rajhi Overdrive Toyota Toyota 7m16.s
6 C Jakub Przygonski Orlen X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 9m29.s
7 C Bernhard Ten Brinke Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 10m19.s
8 C Erik van Loon Overdrive Toyota Toyota 12m41.s
9 C Stephane Peterhansel Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 13m11.s
10 C Nani Roma Borgward Rally Team Borgward 14m33.s
11 C Nasser Al-Attiyah Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 15m55.s
12 C Wei Han Geely Auto Shell Lubricant Team Hanwei/Geely 17m05.s
13 C Pierre Lachaume PH-Sport Peugeot 18m00.s
14 C Carlos Sainz Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 19m15.s
15 C Benediktas Vanagas General Financing Team Pitlane Toyota 20m52.s

Leading positions

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 C Carlos Sainz Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 31h56m52.s
2 C Nasser Al-Attiyah Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 6m40.s
3 C Stephane Peterhansel Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 13m09.s
4 C Yazeed Al-Rajhi Overdrive Toyota Toyota 32m25.s
5 C Orlando Terranova X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 43m02.s
6 C Giniel de Villiers Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 53m12.s
7 C Mathieu Serradori SRT Racing Century/? 1h02m42.s
8 C Bernhard Ten Brinke Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1h07m00.s
9 C Wei Han Geely Auto Shell Lubricant Team Hanwei/Geely 3h06m20.s
10 C Jerome Pelichet Raidlynx Optimus/MD 3h09m47.s
11 C Pierre Lachaume PH-Sport Peugeot 3h09m48.s
12 C Fernando Alonso Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 3h10m51.s
13 C Martin Prokop MP Sports Ford 3h23m44.s
14 C Vaidotas Zala Agrorodeo Mini/BMW 4h43m43.s
15 C Benediktas Vanagas General Financing Team Pitlane Toyota 6h03m14.s
16 C Nani Roma Borgward Rally Team Borgward 6h47m48.s
17 C Jakub Przygonski Orlen X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 8h25m48.s
18 C Erik van Loon Overdrive Toyota Toyota 10h25m00.s

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