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Guerlain Chicherit wins Dakar Rally after rain

Guerlain Chicherit wins Dakar Rally after rain

Guerlain Chicherit wins Dakar Rally after rain

Guerlain Chicherit wins Dakar Rally after rain

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  • Heavy rain cuts the distance from Monday’s stage.
  • Nasser Al-Atthiyah is in first place overall.
  • Britain’s Sam Sunderland crashed out on Sunday.
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Guerlain Chicherit, a French driver, came back from getting five flat tyres on Monday to win the Dakar Rally’s third stage on Tuesday, which was cut from 447 kilometres to 378 kilometres because of heavy rain.

The Prodrive driver, who is 44 years old, finished in 10 hours and 56 minutes. South African Henk Lattegan came in second, 3 minutes and 26 seconds behind. Orlando Terranova of Argentina had the third-fastest time, 5 minutes and 4 seconds behind the winner.

Chicherit said, “It’s great.”

“Of course, we’re upset about what happened yesterday, but we’ve shown what we can do if we keep our minds on the task at hand.”

Chicherit’s happiness was very different from that of overnight leader and three-time winner Carlos Sainz, who had to stop after 213 km because of a problem with his left wheel.

The stoppage cost the 60-year-old Spaniard almost an hour, which helped the defending champion from Qatar, Nasser Al-Atthiyah, the most right away.

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The 52-year-old is in first place overall, 13 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of the Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi. The French Dakar legend Stephane Peterhansel is in third, 20 minutes and 45 seconds behind.

Nine-time Rally World Champion Sebastien Loeb, who is from the same country as Peterhansel, had a second bad day in a row. The runner-up from last year lost another 35 minutes.

As the rain poured down hard, the drivers were forced to stop soon after the motorcyclists.

The leader in the motorcycling standings is now an Australian rider named Daniel Sanders.

Sanders’ win was a good consolation for the 28-year-old GasGas rider, who had lost the stage win because of a time penalty he got for speeding on Sunday.

Sanders’s plan to not finish first on Monday so that he wouldn’t be the first person on the course on Tuesday paid off very well.

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He finished 5 minutes and 23 seconds ahead of his Argentine rival Kevin Benavides. For the second stage in a row, the American Skyler Howes came in third, 6 minutes and 19 seconds behind the winner.

Sanders, who won his fourth Dakar stage, said, “I thought, if I go for the win, I’ll try to push the whole day and win by a lot. Now I’ll focus on tomorrow.”

“The Aussies, of course, have the most heart. We’ve got some good natural desert skills.”

Sanders’ chances of winning the whole race went up when Ricky Brabec, the 2020 champion, crashed in a stage and had to be taken to the hospital.

The 31-year-old American crashed his Honda at the 274th kilometre of the stage. He complained of pain in his neck vertebrae and was taken to the hospital by helicopter for more tests.

Brabec, who also came in second in 2021, got the first stage on Sunday because Sanders and others were penalised for speeding.

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He is the second major motorcycle racer to drop out early this year. Britain’s Sam Sunderland, the 2022 champion, crashed out on Sunday.

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