Date: Tuesday 5th January 2021
Location: Wadi Ad-Dawasir > Wadi Ad-Dawasir
Length: 227km liaison + 403km special
The third test of the 2021 Dakar Rally sees the competitors on a loop starting and ending in Wadi Ad-Dawasir. The winds heavily affected the surface with the dunes constantly changing shape, creating a bout of issues for co-pilots and drivers alike. The riders were the ones whom suffered the most from the changing surface, with many struggling on the rockier sections. The winds in the region also ensured that it was hard to follow the tracks of anyone up ahead, as they were soon erased by the gusty sand. The day’s class victors included Nasser Al-Attiyah, Toby Price and Siarhei Viazovich.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah claimed his second victory out of three stages cementing second place in the standings. The Qatari is edging ever closer to Stephane Peterhansel with the frenchman only sitting in the top spot, four minutes ahead. The pair sit comfortably in the top two places overall with their nearest rival, Mathieu Serrdori just over twenty-five minutes adrift.
Peterhansel has a challenge on his hands to defend the top spot after losing second place in the stage standings from Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Henk Lategan, who finished only two and a half minutes behind his teammate Al-Attiyah. Peterhansel lost time on the stage, repairing a puncture suffered by his Mini John Cooper Works Buggy.
2020 Dakar Champion Carlos Sainz had a nightmare of a day, losing 30 minutes due to navigational issues, going off course at the 56km waypoint. The Spaniard finished 20th on the stage, which has set him and co-driver Lucas Cruz back on their quest to defend the title as they now lie in fourth overall.
Sainz’s former World Rally Championship (WRC) teammate Sebastien Loeb found himself 45 minutes behind Peterhansel in the overall classification after suffering three punctures on the stage. Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena finished the day in fifth place.
Martin Prokop is more used to competing against Loeb in the WRC, but the Czech found himself 30 seconds adrift of the nine-time WRC champion who finished the day in fifth. Prokop’s sixth place finish has contributed towards his overall ranking inside the top ten, in ninth place.
- Nasser Al-Attiyah / Matthieu Baumel – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 03:17:39s
- Henk Lategan / Brett Cummings – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 03:20:06s
- Stephane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 03:22:44s
Overall classification after Stage 3:
- Stephane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 10:40:02s
- Nasser Al-Attiyah / Matthieu Baumel – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 10:44:11s
- Matieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin – SRT Racing – 11:05:23s
BIKES / LIGHTWEIGHT / TRUCKS
Red Bull KTM Factory Team’s Toby Price recovered his place in the overall standings with a formidable victory on the third test of the Dakar, finishing the stage just over three minutes ahead of Kevin Benavides. Going into stage four, Price now sits in third place overall in the bike category.
Monster Energy Honda Team 2021’s Benavides has also shot up the overall standings from thirteenth to second.
Price and Benavides benefitted from their misfortunes yesterday, starting further down the road, as the frontrunners contended with soft sand and rocky patches, leading them to lose valuable time.
2017 champion Sam Sunderland now finds himself up in fifth place in the general classification after having struggled with the wind on today’s stage, the Brit was able to claim fifth place overall.
The USA’s Skyler Howes now leads the bike class, after proving consistency is key, finishing the third stage of the competition in fourth place, moving up to first in the overall standings from eighth place.
Pace, momentum and balance were the keys to success for the Lightweight category, as the stage saw competitors scale the rockier patches and dusty dunes without much fuss, leading to the top thirteen being covered by just over ten minutes.
Chile’s Francisco Lopez took the stage win, with Austin Jones losing out on the win by just over one minute. Energylandia Rally Team’s Michal Goczal posted a time just one second adrift of Jones, to claim third place. Eighteen-year-old Seth Quintero finished behind in fourth place, moving to seventh overall.
Cristina Gutierrez had a steady stage, finishing in fourteenth overall, and claiming fourth in the overall classification.
In spite of technical issues, Siarhei Viazovich and his Maz-Sportauto crew took the class victory in the Trucks, claiming second in the overall standings behind Dmitry Sotnikov. Sotnikov finished the stage with only eighteen seconds separating him from Viazovich. Sotnikov has a comfortable seventeen minute lead in the Truck category.
Maurik Van Den Heuvel had a scary ending to his Dakar 2021 campaign, as the Dutchman and his crew flipped their Scania Lonestar on a large dune. The Dakarspeed crew of truck 519 had been tenth in the overall standings going into stage three.
- Toby Price – Red Bull KTM Factory Team – 03:33:23s
- Kevin Benavides – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 03:36:39s
- Matthias Walkner – Red Bull KTM Factory Team – 03:37:59s
Overall after stage 3:
- Skyler Howes – BAS Dakar KTM Racing Team – 12:05:48s
- Xavier De Soultrait – HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing – 12:06:16s
- Toby Price – Red Bull KTM Factory Team – 12:06:40s
- Francisco Lopez Contardo / Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre – South Racing Can-Am – 04:20:57s
- Austin Jones / Gustavo Gugelmin – Monster Energy Can-Am – 04:22:20s
- Michal Goczal / Szymon Gospodarczyk – Energylandia Rally Team – 04:22:21s
Overall after stage 3:
- Francisco Lopez Contardo / Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre – South Racing Can-Am – 13:19:10s
- Aron Domzala / Maciej Marton – Monster Energy Can-Am – 13:25:18s
- Austin Jones / Gustavo Gugelmin – Monster Energy Can-Am – 13:27:23s
- Siarhei Viazovich / Paul Haranin / Anton Zaparoshchanka – Maz-Sportauto – 03:45:14s
- Dmitry Sotnikov / Ruslan Akhmadeev / Ilgiz Akhmetzianov – Kamaz-Master – 03:45:32s
- Anton Shibalov / Dmitrii Nikitin / Ivan Tatarinov – Kamaz-Master – 03:46:30s
Overall after stage 3:
- Dmitry Sotnikov / Ruslan Akhmadeev / Ilgiz Akhmetzianov – Kamaz-Master – 11:47:11ss
- Siarhei Viazovich / Paul Haranin / Anton Zaparoshchanka – Maz-Sportauto – 12:04:07s
- Anton Shibalov / Dmitrii Nikitin / Ivan Tatarinov – Kamaz-Master – 12:10:12s