Al-Attiyah retains overall lead in Dakar Rally car race

Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi won the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally on Saturday with Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah holding the overall lead in the car race.

The motorbike stage was cancelled because of heavy rain.

Toyota driver Al-Rajhi and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz mastered the testing stage in Saudi Arabia to bounce back after losing over five hours on Friday because of technical problems.

Despite starting in 40th place near the back of the field, Al-Rajhi finished 8min 54sec ahead of Lithuanian driver Vaidotas Zala after the shortened 333km timed special to Al Duwadimi.

The Saudi picked up his third career Dakar stage win and the first one in this year's race, but remains over five hours behind the overall leader.

"I'd say I have the best co-driver," said Al-Rajhi.

"We attacked. It wasn't easy to start from the back and overtake all the little cars, often going left and right in the wadis, but we did a great job."

Al-Attiyah finished 14th but retains a comfortable lead of one hour and one minute in the overall race.

His South African Toyota teammate Henk Lategan is second overall.

France's Stephane Peterhansel, a record 14-time winner of the race, crashed out of the 2023 edition on Friday.

Organisers decided Friday to cancel Saturday's motorbike stage because heavy rain had delayed the arrival of the competitors and put their safety in danger.

American rider Skyler Howes is leading the motorbike category.

al/gj/ea