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Dakar drama unfolds: Lucas Moraes triumphs, Al-Rajhi takes lead, mechanical woes force Sunderland out

Posted : 09 January 2024

Lucas Moraes secured his inaugural Dakar Rally stage triumph on Monday, driving a Toyota to victory in the 438km third stage, narrowly beating Sweden's Mattias Ekstrom in an Audi by nine seconds.


The Brazilian driver, appreciative of his co-driver Armand Monleon's adept navigation through challenging dunes, emphasized a flawless day that included assisting teammate Seth Quintero.

Moraes dedica primeira vitória do Brasil no Dakar à filha


While Saudi Arabian Yazeed Al-Rajhi claimed third in the stage, he took the overall lead in the car class, facing navigational challenges along the way.


In the bike category, Kevin Benavides, riding a KTM, initially finished third but was elevated to first after penalties were imposed on competitors Pablo Quintanilla and Joan Barreda for speeding. Botswana's Ross Branch maintained his overall lead, with Chile's Ignacio Cornejo closely trailing.


Unfortunately, two-time Dakar winner Sam Sunderland, riding for GasGas, saw his aspirations for a third crown dashed by a mechanical problem that forced him out of the race after just 11 kilometers.


Despite challenging rocky terrains, Frenchman Sebastien Loeb experienced a setback, suffering three punctures and dropping to ninth place overall. Al-Rajhi, now leading the car class, faced navigation difficulties but managed to secure a podium finish in the stage.


Tuesday's Stage 4, spanning 631km with 299km of special stages, promises rolling terrain with intricate navigation challenges as competitors journey from Al-Salamiya to Al-Hofuf in the ongoing Dakar Rally, slated to conclude on January 19th.


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