Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar won his fourth stage in the Dakar Rally in Argentina on Wednesday, the ninth win in 10 days for Mini, as he closed in on a second title.
In the motorcycle division, Joan Barreda of Spain rode his Honda to a third stage win, with defending champion Marc Coma extending his overall lead to nearly eight minutes with three days to go.
After crossing the Andes from Calama to Chile, the mammoth 859km stage, 371km timed to Salta, saw Al-Attiyah extend his overall lead to more than 28 minutes on South African Giniel de Villiers, in a Toyota, the 2009 race winner. Spaniard Nani Roma, the defending champion and winner of the ninth stage on Tuesday, was close to abandoning after seriously damaging his Mini at the 193km mark.
Barrada’s chances of overall victory in the motorcycle race were shattered when he lost more than four hours with mechanical problems on the stage to Iquique, Chile, on Monday. But he had better luck on the run to Salta and crossed the line more than 90sec ahead of KTM’s
Coma and nearly two minutes in front of Portugal’s Ruben Faria. Four-time champion Coma added nearly two minutes to his advantage over his closest rival in the overall standings, Honda rider Paulo Goncalves of Portugal, who only came home fifth on the stage.
Should Spain’s Coma be crowned champion at the end of the race on Saturday in Buenos Aires, it will be the 14th straight triumph for Austrian constructor KTM.
Results after the Dakar Rally tenth stage, a 859km (358km timed) circuit between Calama and Salta, Argentina on Wednesday:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA/Mini) 3hr 49min 59sec
2. Orlando Terranova/Bernardo Graue (ARG/ARG/Mini) at 35sec
3. Yazeed Alrajhi/Timo Göttschalk (KSA/GER/Toyota) 3:39
4. Giniel De Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (RSA/GER/Toyota) 4:24
5. Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul (NED/BEL/Toyota) 5:21
6. Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (POL/FRA/Mini) 6:01
7. Emiliano Spataro/Benjamin Lozada (ARG/ARG/Renault) 7:19
8. Stephane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret (FRA/FRA/Peugeot) 7:23
9. Carlos Sousa/Paulo Fiuza (POR/POR/Mitsubishi) 8:18
10. Erik Van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NED/NED/Mini) 9:27
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA/Mini) 35hr 19min 37sec, (penalty 2min)
2. Giniel De Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (RSA/GER/Toyota) at 28min 22sec
3. Yazeed Alrajhi/Timo Göttschalk (KSA/GER/Toyota) 43:08
4. Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (POL/FRA/Mini) 1hr 23:42
5. Erik Van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NED/NED/Mini) 2hr 51:13, (penalty 40:00)
6. Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS/Mini) 3hr 12:10
7. Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul (NED/BEL/Toyota) 3hr 39:28
8. Carlos Sousa/Paulo Fiuza (POR/POR/Mitsubishi) 3hr 41:53. (penalty 40:00)
9. Stephane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret (FRA/FRA/Peugeot) 5hr 14:05
10. Patrick Sireyjol/François-Xavier Beguin (FRA/BEL/Buggy) 5 h 36:27. (penalty 1:30)