Stage 3 of 2013 Dakar Rally finished a few moments ago, at least in what respects the major contenders (only 58 of the 137 cars finished by now and others are still stuck in the course or retired).
Cars’ Stage 3 was won by Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah driving a Buggy.
Second place went to North-American Robby Gordon in a Hummer 1:18 minutes behind. Last podium place in the stage belonged to Stephane Peterhansel driving a Mini (3:52 minutes from 1st place. Peterhansel is again one of the greatest favorites and the pilot with more victories in Dakar’s History.
Peterhansel took the lead in General Classification (GC) at the cost of Spanish former WRC Driver Carlos Sainz that lost more than 30 minutes to Al-Attiyah. Al-Attiyah is now 2nd in GC.
The Mini squad registered although a major blow since Krzysztof Holowczyc and co-pilot Filipe Palmeiro had a heavy crash during the stage and Holowczyc suffered injuries that would probably force him to abandon the Rally (not yet confirmed).
Another historical Dakar driver – Portuguese Carlos Sousa (Great Wall) – also had a bad stage and lost more than 50 minutes to the winner. He dropped in GC to 17th.
In bikes the stage Victory went to Chilean Francisco Lopez (‘Chaleco’), with Portuguese Paulo Gonçalves coming 2nd 1:08 minutes behind. However, the most renowned Portuguese driver and one of the favorites for the Dakar victory – Hélder Rodrigues (Honda) -lost more than 25 minutes and dropped to 28th in GC. The best Portuguese pilot is GC is Rúben Faria (11th, 10:47 minutes from Depres).
Major Dakar favorite Cyril Depres took the lead in Bikes again at the cost of another Spanish (Joan Barreda Bort, only 44th today, losing 33 minutes). Chaleco is now 2nd in the GC 2:51 minutes from Depres and Norwegian Ullevalseter 3rd at 4:59 minutes.
Stage 4 (429 Ks) will be held tomorrow. It will be the biggest test in week one of the Dakar, which caught out even the best and most experienced Dakar veterans last year. One fine sandy dune is followed by another for over 20 kilometres. It is hard to make up much time here, but easy to lose a lot.
Bikes will hit the road first (10:45 AM CET) and cars will depart at 12:32 PM CET.
You can follow the stage live on: