Only the 359 kilometers between Pisco and Lima separate 2011 and 2015 Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah from his third event title in 2019. Al-Attiyah scored his third stage victory of this year’s running on Wednesday with a 3:53:22, beating 2014 champion Nani Roma by 4:58 and extending his overall lead to a sizable 51:27 with just one stage remaining.
Giniel de Villiers, Al-Attiyah’s Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate, completed the day’s podium, while Sebastien Loeb hangs onto third in the overall standings despite a 17th place finish in today’s Pisco loop stage. Stephane Peterhansel, meanwhile, had to withdraw from the pursuit of his 14th overall Dakar win when a rough landing injured the back of navigator David Castera. It will be Peterhansel’s first Dakar DNF since 2009, and just his third since trading two wheels for four in 1999.
Speaking of, the Motorcycle class lead remains in Toby Price’s hands (and injured wrist), but Pablo Quintanilla continues to put the pressure on. The Chilean sits second, just 62 seconds back of the Australian, after they posted times within a second of one another on the stage. Former enduro rider and water carrier Michael Metge earned the first stage win of his Dakar career today, beating Daniel Nosiglia to the finish by two minutes.
Defending Dakar Side-by-Side winner Reinaldo Varela earned his first stage win since the opener, bouncing back from an event-worst 15th place stage finish on Tuesday. That allowed Varela to climb back into overall podium contention, 1:11:29 behind leader Chaleco Lopez and 11:43 behind second place Gerard Farres. American Casey Currie remains the top rookie, sitting fourth overall and more than two hours clear of Miguel Jordao, the next-best rookie.
The Quad and Truck stages remain under complete control of Nicolas Cavigliasso and Eduard Nikolaev, respectively, after both won today’s stages. Cavigliasso’s eight stage wins remain the best of any competitor in any class in the event.