Dakar 2021, Stage 11: Peterhansel closes in on overall win

Nasser Al-Attiyah secured a fifth stage win of the 2021 Dakar Rally on Thursday, but was unable to make a major dent in Stephane Peterhansel's lead ahead of Friday's showdown.

Starting third on the road, Peterhansel grabbed an early lead in the shortened 464km test between Alula and Yanbu, heading X-raid Mini teammate Carlos Sainz and the PH Sport Peugeot of Khalid Al Qassimi.

While both Sainz and Al Qassimi enjoyed brief stints in the lead later on, Peterhansel remained predominantly at the top throughout the stage, arriving at the final waypoint with an advantage of 29s from Toyota rival Al-Attiyah.

However, the French driver lost more than two minutes in the last 26km section towards the finish line, allowing Al-Attiyah to come through and take the stage win by 1m56s.

Sainz finished another 30s adrift in third, losing nearly five minutes between checkpoints 3 and 5 shortly after ceding the lead to Peterhansel.

Overdrive Toyota driver Yazeed Al Rajhi finished four minutes off the lead in fourth, despite having to open the stage after claiming a second win of 2021 in Thursday’s special.

Five-time bikes winner Cyril Despres (PH Sport) equalled his best finish of the 2021 Dakar so far in fifth, while Wei Han was a surprising sixth driving a SMG buggy.

Factory Toyota driver Giniel de Villiers narrowly beat the X-raid 4x4 of Vladimir Vasilyev to seventh, with Al Qassimi dropping to ninth in the final order after losing time in the final sections of the stage.

Ford privateer Martin Prokop was 10th, ahead of Overdrive’s Jakub Przygonski and top Century driver Mathieu Serradori.

Ahead of Friday’s 12th and final stage, Peterhansel heads the overall standings by 15m05s from Al-Attiyah, with a record 14th Dakar win in his sight. 

Sainz sits well over an hour adrift in third following a troubled first week, with Przygonski and Bahrain Xtreme driver Nani Roma staying fourth and fifth respectively despite not featuring in the top 10 in today’s stage.

Al Qassimi remains sixth from Vasilyev, de Villiers and Prokop, while Despres has overtaken Optimus driver Christian Lavieille to claim 10th.

Standings after Stage 11 (Top 10 only):

Pos.

Driver

Car

Time/Gap

1

Stephane Peterhansel

Mini

42hr09m26s

2

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Toyota

15m05s

3

Carlos Sainz

Mini

1hr04m14s

4

Jakub Przygonski 

Toyota

2hr32m24s

5

Nani Roma

BRX

3hr15m54s

6

Khalid Al Qassimi

Peugeot

3hr25m48s

7

Vladimir Vasilyev

Mini

3hr26m58s

8

Giniel de Villiers

Toyota

3hr55m02s

9

Martin Prokop

Ford

3hr59m23s

10

Cyril Despres

Peugeot

4hr49m05s

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About this article

Series Dakar
Event Dakar
Sub-event Stage 11
Drivers Stéphane Peterhansel , Nasser Al-Attiyah
Author Rachit Thukral