Al-Attiyah adds another Dakar stage win as Peterhansel keeps lead

·2-min read
Nasser Al-Attiyah has won four of eight stages as well as the prologue in this year's Dakar Rally

Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah won stage eight of the Dakar Rally on Monday while nine-time rally world champion Sebastien Loeb was forced out after two punctures.

Three-time Dakar winner Al-Attiyah covered the 375 kilometres of the timed special between Sakaka and Neom in Saudi Arabia in just under three hours.

He has won four of eight stages of this year's edition as well as the prologue but trails Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel in overall rankings by 4min 50sec.

Last year's winner Carlos Sainz finished 52sec behind Al-Attiyah along the Red Sea coastline, with Peterhansel third as he stayed on course to capture a record-extending 14th Dakar title.

Sainz is third overall at 38min 55sec ahead of Tuesday's ninth stage, a 579km loop on sandy tracks around Neom that should be one of the toughest of the rally.

Loeb, taking part in his fifth Dakar, suffered his first puncture 43 kilometres into the stage. After he blew another tire at kilometre 83, the Frenchman signalled his retirement to his team, the British outfit BRX.

This year's Dakar had not been a kind one to Loeb, who had been beset with mechanical problems and was more than 13 hours behind his compatriot Peterhansel.

Chile's Jose Ignacio Cornejo extended his advantage in the motorbike category with his first stage victory.

Cornejo gained over a minute on nearest rival Toby Price, having led by just one second on Sunday.

American Ricky Brabec, winner of the 2020 rally, was almost three minutes adrift in third.

French rider Xavier de Soultrait withdrew following a heavy crash. He was taken to hospital in Tabuk for observation.

De Soultrait was among the favourites and briefly occupied first place last week following stage four. He was fourth overall when he crashed.

Britain's Sam Sunderland is third overall, 5min 57sec off the pace after crossing fourth in Monday's special, with Brabec in sixth at 17min 42sec.