SAN JUAN DE MARCONA, Peru, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — France’s nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb claimed his third stage victory of this year’s Dakar Rally on Sunday as Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah edged closer to his third title.
Loeb, racing in a private Peugeot, completed the 336km timed section from Arequipa to San Juan de Marcona in southern Peru in three hours 39 minutes and 21 seconds, two minutes and 17 seconds ahead of Al-Attiyah’s Toyota.
Spain’s defending champion, Carlos Sainz, was third in his Mini, almost seven minutes off the pace.
“It went well, but we made mistakes,” said Loeb, who is second in the overall standings, almost 38 minutes behind Al-Attiyah with four stages remaining.
“We saw Nasser make the same blunder, so we both lost two minutes. We drove around looking for a waypoint, but I think we weren’t the only ones, it was a tricky stage. We didn’t get stuck, we saw the hole [that caused trouble] last year, but we dodged the bullet. I’m very happy to have reached the finish. It’s not over yet, there’s still a long way to go.”
Meanwhile, Chilean Pablo Quintanilla took the lead in the motorcycle category after winning the stage on his Husqvarna.
Quintanilla leads American Ricky Brabec by four minutes and 38 seconds, with Australia’s Toby Price some five minutes and 17 seconds behind.