Ten Brinke wins 11th Dakar stage, Sainz retains general lead

Joanna Estrada
January 22, 2018

French driving great and seven-time Dakar Rally auto champion Stephane Peterhansel (Peugeot) is in jeopardy of missing out on a podium spot this year after suffering mechanical problems in the penultimate stage.

South African Giniel de Villiers won the 120-kilometer (74-mile) final stage in Cordoba and finished third overall.

"This is a dream come true, I am so happy".

Sainz, a two-time world rally champion, won the Dakar in 2010 with Volkswagen but failed to complete the previous three editions of the race.

"[Peugeot] have already won two times, but I think I deserved this victory because we have put a lot of effort into this vehicle", he said.

Sainz was ninth on Saturday and had less pressure on him because rival Stephane Peterhansel crashed Friday.

The Spaniard, 55, and compatriot co-driver Lucas Cruz finished ahead of Qatar's two-time victor Nasser Al-Attiyah in a Toyota. The Frenchman, known as "Mr. Dakar" for his 13 victories in different categories of the rally, finished fourth overall. "I am so happy", Walkner said. "I raced a couple of days and pushed really hard, but then the race was a case of not making mistakes".

In the motorcycles category, Austrian Mathias Falkner won the title followed by Argentina's Kevin Benavides after 16 minutes and 53 seconds, while Australia's Toby Price finished third, 23:01 minutes behind the victor.

Benavides won the last stage of the race.

Overall, Austria's KTM rider Matthias Walkner leads Benavides by 32:00 and Price by 39:17.

But the two-time Dakar champion showed his true grit and class when he never went off the attack mode even in the final stages of the race when it was nearly certain that he will finish runner up.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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