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Dakar 2019: Barreda out, Sainz suffers setback in low visibility conditions

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Three days of the Dakar have come to a close, with some big names suffering and others rising up to the challenge. As things stand, Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla leads the motorcycle class, while Nasser Al-Attiyah leads the cars in his Toyota Hilux.

Day 2

Day 2 saw the racers covering a total of 553km, of which 342km were competitive. Last year’s winner Matthias Walker put in the best time of the day to improve on his standings and move in to second. However, Joan Barreda Bort remained in first. Hero Motosport’s Oriol Mena moved in to 14th, J-Rod and Santosh were 32nd and 33rd respectively. Santosh was running in 20th after Day 1, but he had trouble with his clutch in the second half of Day 2’s stages and dropped down the order. Meanwhile, for the Sherco TVS outfit, Lorenzo Santolino placed himself in 15th after the stage and Adrien Metge was two places behind in 17th. Aravind steadily moved up the standings, to 61st. Micheal Metge who was very strong till he lost an hour and a half because of an issue with his fuel. He dropped to 62nd overall.

In the cars, Sebastien Loeb managed to win the stage in his privately entered Peugeot buggy (the factory team isn’t at the Dakar this year), with Nani Roma in second. But the stage win was narrow, and only managed to place him fifth overall. At the end of Day 2, Toyota’s Goniel De Villers  was placed first overall, followed by teammate Bernhard Ten Brinke and Nani Roma in the 4WD Mini.

Day 3

Day 3 was the second longest day at the Dakar, and turned out to be quite a tough one due to low visibility conditions. A total of 789km were run, of which 342km were competitive. Overa;; leader Joan Barreda Bot was one of the few who got caught out by the fog, went in to a ravine chasing a waypoint and couldn’t find a way out. He was airlifted out and that was the end of his Dakar. A lot of other riders including Santosh nearly went down the same path, but he managed to pull his bike out before he got in too deep.

Xavier de Soultrait from Yamaha took the stage win, but it was Pablo Quintanilla who moved up in to first place overall. Second place was taken by Kevin Benavides from HRC and KTM’s Sam Sunderland was placed third. Hero’s Oriol Meno finished the stage in eighth and managed to move up to 12th overall, while J-Rod moved to 27th. Santosh’s troubles saw him drop all the way down to 50th position overall. Sherco-TVS Racing’s guys were putting on strong times as well, Lorenzo Santolino jumped to 13th overall, closely followed by Adrien in 15th. Micheal Metge pushed hard to recover from the previous day, and moved in to 28th while Aravind finished the day in 61st.

In the cars, Stephan Peterhansel took the stage win, but Nasser Al-Attiyah was hot on his tail and moved back in to first place overall. Yazeed Al Rajhi in the 4WD Mini is not second overall and Peterhansel is third. Sainz had trouble with his car mid stage and dropped all the way down to 36th in the overall standings, over four hours behind the leaders.

The competitors head out on the first leg of the marathon stage this evening.

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