In what may be his final ride behind the wheel of a Peugeot, Sebastien Loeb drove his privateer Peugeot to the top time in Tuesday’s second stage of the Dakar Rally, traversing the route from Pisco to San Juan de Marcona in 3:26:53. That time was just good enough to beat former Dakar champion Nani Roma, who placed eight seconds back of Loeb.
While Loeb climbed to fifth in the event standings by virtue of the stage win, it was South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers whose fourth place result enabled him to take the overall lead in the Cars standings. de Villiers’ overall time of 4:32:45 through two of 10 stages is 28 seconds ahead of his Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate Bernhard Ten Brinke, who finished third today.
Robby Gordon dropped three places in the overall Cars classification to 24th overall, 46:54 back of de Villiers, by virtue of a 25th place finish on the stage. Defending Dakar winner and runner-up Carlos Sainz and Nasser Al-Attiyah current sit sixth and eighth overall, each within just a few minutes of the overall lead.
On the bikes, defending winner Matthias Walkner made up for a seventh place finish in the opening stage by taking a 22-second victory today over American Ricky Brabec. That enabled Walkner to close the overall gap to 1:31 behind overall leader Joan Barreda, who placed third today. Brabec completes the podium as they run, with Monday runner-up Pablo Quintanilla and Toby Price completing the top five.
The trend of close finishes continued in the Side-by-Side class, as Chaleco Lopez defeated defending Dakar winner Reinaldo Varela by 19 seconds in today’s action. However, Varela remains 1:08 ahead of Lopez in the overall standings. However, American off-road ace and Dakar rookie Casey Currie dropped out of the top 10 overall today by virtue of a 14th place stage finish; he’s currently 12th overall, 2:43 outside of reclaiming a top 10 spot, and 3:15 behind top rookie Ricardo Porem.
In both Quads and Trucks, Monday’s stage winners extended their leads on Tuesday. Nicolas Cavigliasso topped the Quad charts to expand his advantage over second place Gustavo Gallego to a whopping 21:14, while Eduard Nikolaev now boasts a 4:23 advantage over Gerard de Rooy. de Rooy’s strong performance so far is particularly notable; after missing last year’s event, he had to battle a wheel that caught on fire in Monday’s opening stage, but still placed fourth then and second today.