Sainz Extends Lead Amid Tragedy During Dakar Rally

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Carlos Sainz captured his third stage victory of the 2020 Dakar Rally on Sunday. (Dakar Rally Photo)
Carlos Sainz captured his third stage victory of the 2020 Dakar Rally on Sunday. (Dakar Rally Photo)

WADI AL DAWASIR, Saudi Arabia – Carlos Sainz padded his Dakar Rally lead with his third stage victory on Sunday amid a tragic day in Saudi Arabia.

Sainz delivered Mini’s sixth stage victory in seven stages thus far. He finished two minutes and 12 seconds ahead of Toyota rival Nasser Al-Attiyah, who was leading the stage at the halfway point before giving up the lead to Sainz.

Al-Attiyah now sits 10 minutes behind Sainz in the overall standings with Stephane Peterhansel, who finished Sunday’s stage in third, a further 19 minutes and and 13 seconds behind in the third position overall.

Sunday’s Dakar Rally was marred by the death of motorcycle competitor Paulo Goncalves, who crashed and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Kevin Benavides was leading the motorcycle portion of Sunday’s stage when he stopped to help Goncalves following the Portuguese competitor’s crash. He was one of several competitors to stop and help following Goncalves’ crash.

By stopping Benavides cost himself the stage victory, but Dakar Rally organizers later adjusted Benavides’ stage time to make up for the time he spent helping Goncalves. Originally classified more than six minutes behind Honda teammate Joan Barreda, Benavides was scored one minute and 23 seconds ahead of Barreda after time adjustments.

In the overall motorcycle standings, American Ricky Brabec continues to lead the division by more than 24 minutes over Pablo Quintanilla.

Russian Andrey Karginov claimed the truck division stage victory by a scant three seconds over fellow Russian Dmitry Sotnikov. Karginov continues to lead the truck class by more than 20 minutes.

Blade Hildebrand led a one-two sweep for Americans in the SxS class, besting class leader and fellow American Casey Currie to the finish by more than 11 minutes. Currie continues to lead the class by 32 minutes over Francisco Lopez Contardo.

Sunday’s quad stage was won by Simon Vitse by 11 seconds while Ignacio Casale continues to lead the class by more than 36 minutes.