Dakar Rally 2020: Sainz seals victory, Alonso finishes 13th on debut

Rally

Two-time World Rally champion Carlos Sainz Sr has secured this third Dakar Rally victory in the 2020 edition of the event, held in Saudi Arabia for the first time ever.

Sainz, the father of McLaren Formula 1 driver Carlos Jr, finished more than six minutes clear of defending winner Nasser Al-Attiyah after 12 stages.

Representing the X-raid Mini squad on this year’s event, Sainz has now won the Dakar with three different manufacturers, having previously triumphed with Volkswagen in 2010 and Peugeot in 2018.

The victory is X-raid Mini’s first since its four successive triumphs between 2012 and 2015, and a first for the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy model it debuted in 2018.

Having bagged four stage wins over the course of the marathon, Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz began the final day of competition with a 10-minute buffer over Al-Attiyah and Stephane Peterhansel.

That lead never came under serious threat as Sainz paced himself through the shortened 104-mile stage, surrendering only four minutes to Al-Attiyah.

Sainz now only needs to complete a non-timed link and arrive at the finish line in Qiddiya for his victory to be made official.

Though he missed out on victory, Al-Attiyah capped off a sixth podium in the last seven editions by beating Peterhansel to the runner-up spot.

With only six seconds in hand over Peterhansel to start the day, Al-Attiyah caught and overtook the Frenchman’s road-opening Mini buggy to cement himself in second place.

He also picked up his first stage win of the 2020 Dakar at the very final attempt.

Behind Peterhansel, who will celebrate his 17th Dakar podium, Saudi Arabian Yazeed Al-Rajhi took his best Dakar finish yet in fourth place in his Overdrive Toyota.

Al-Attiyah’s Toyota Gazoo team-mates Giniel de Villiers and Bernhard ten Brinke made it four Hiluxes in the top seven, the pair separated by sixth-place finisher Orlando Terranova in the X-raid Mini 4×4.

The 2020 marathon featured two first-time stage winners in Vaidotas Zala, a newcomer to the Mini ranks, and Mathieu Serradori, who was a standout eighth at the finish in his Century buggy.

Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso completed the final stage 3m25s slower than Al-Attiyah, which was good enough for fourth-fastest on the day.

Alonso completed his maiden Dakar in 13th overall, trailing Sainz by more than four and a half hours at the marathon finish – as a consequence of lengthy repairs on the second stage and a roll during the 10th.

This was the first time since 2015 that no Peugeot finished in the top three, or the top 10, on the Dakar.

Khalid Al Qassimi’s privateer entry burned up after a promising start, while the other PH Sport-run Peugeot of Pierre Lachaume crashed out on the penultimate day.

Leading stage 12 times

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Nasser Al-Attiyah Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1h17m30.s
2 Yasir Saeidan Race World Team Mini/BMW 1m32.s
3 Orlando Terranova X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 3m16.s
4 Fernando Alonso Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 3m25.s
5 Stephane Peterhansel Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 3m31.s
6 Carlos Sainz Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 3m56.s
7 Giniel de Villiers Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 4m31.s
8 Bernhard Ten Brinke Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 4m40.s
9 Yazeed Al-Rajhi Overdrive Toyota Toyota 5m09.s
10 Mathieu Serradori SRT Racing Century/? 5m45.s

Final positions

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Carlos Sainz Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 42h59m17.s
2 Nasser Al-Attiyah Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 6m21.s
3 Stephane Peterhansel Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 9m58.s
4 Yazeed Al-Rajhi Overdrive Toyota Toyota 49m10.s
5 Giniel de Villiers Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1h07m09.s
6 Orlando Terranova X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 1h12m15.s
7 Bernhard Ten Brinke Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1h18m34.s
8 Mathieu Serradori SRT Racing Century/? 1h59m21.s
9 Yasir Saeidan Race World Team Mini/BMW 3h42m17.s
10 Wei Han Geely Auto Shell Lubricant Team Hanwei/Geely 3h51m07.s
11 Jerome Pelichet Raidlynx Optimus/MD 4h01m34.s
12 Martin Prokop MP Sports Ford 4h04m19.s
13 Fernando Alonso Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 4h42m47.s

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