After the 12th stage of the rally-marathon “Dakar-2018” intrigue against the truck spun to the limit – two days before the finish of the two candidates separated by only one second.
Road in the Argentine province of San Juan was not easy. The participants had the longest – 523 km – special stage at the “Dakar-2018”. Highway with sand and bumpy rocky areas became a crucible for tired after 12 days of competition riders from the categories of SUVs and trucks. For motorcyclists and quads stage was cancelled for safety reasons.
Toyota racer Nasser al-Attiyah is well aware that to regain the lead in the 65 minute from Carlos Sainz and win the third victory on “Dakar” it will help only a miracle. But the Qatari continues to attack all of the money. To win the 12th stage, it was not even disturbed by two punctures. Stephane Peterhansel gave him only two minutes ahead of Sainz, which nevertheless continues to monitor the situation in the overall standings.
After the failure on the eve of Ton van Iveco Genugten on the left the number of applicants for a victory in Cordoba, but continues to improve his stats on the individual stages of the Dakar. The Dutchman won the third of the last five special stages, beating for two minutes of Czech Martin Kolomý with Tatra, and the driver of the “KAMAZ-Master” Eduard Nikolaev, who was ahead of his main rival Federico Villagra 1 minute and 8 seconds – this was enough to seize the initiative in the General classification.
One second, just one second! With such a gap over Federico Villagra is in the lead for two stages before the finish Eduard Nikolaev. Behind 7.5 thousand kilometers, but the fight actually begins anew. Everything in its two final special stage.
Winning three different from each other stage, Nasser al-Attiyah confirmed his versatility. Two-time winner of “Dakar” has become the fastest as at 31-kilometer prologue in Lima, and the long record 523-kilometer-long stage from Chilecito to San Juan. This success became for the Qatari riders 30th in his career. Now he’s behind Carlos Sainz and two from Jacqui Xxx.
The second cancellation of the special stage after the ninth stage was a disappointment for the motorcyclists, who with great interest and hope was waiting for long road to San Juan. Some, like Kevin Benavides and Toby Price, has not given up the dream ahead of Matthias Walkner in the struggle for victory, despite a serious backlog. Now they will have even less chance of the podium.
Federico Villagra: “a Difficult day for us due to engine problems we had to stay on the track. The last 25 kilometres we drove at idle. However, I’m not nervous. Will try to finish the race on a high note. It would be great to win, but we’ll see. There is still two days. Three years ago I even could not imagine that I would have included in the battle for the victory, because I had never drove the truck.”
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