Al Attiyah wins Dakar fourth stage, extends lead at top

Sajith B Warrier

Arequipa (Peru), January 11: Qatar's two-time champion Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah extended his lead in the Dakar Rally, winning the fourth stage between Arequipa and Tacna.

Al Attiyah, the 2011 and 2015 champion, had already won the first stage of this year's event behind the wheel of his Toyota Hilux.

On the fourth stage, he edged out 13-time champion Stephane Peterhansel, in a Mini, by 1min 52sec and Jakub Przygonski, also in a Mini, by 8min 49sec.

Overall, the Red Bull athlete leads by 8min 55sec ahead of the fifth stage between Tacna and Arequipa.

33rd stage victory

If this nip and tuck battle continues between Al Attiyah and Peterhansel we willl be in for a classic contest. Al Attiyah's second stage win of this rally is his 33rd stage victory of an amazing Dakar career.

"We have our marathon stage checklist so we'll work through that when we get to the bivouac. Everything was working great, so I don't think we'll have too much to do," said a beaming Al Attiyah.

Przygonski stays in the hunt

The third fastest car on stage four belonged to Kuba Przygonski (POL) as the 2018 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup victor retained his place in the overall Top 5.

The fourth stage of 2019 Dakar Rally cranked up the challenge as not only was there 350 kilometres of special stage to race, but also the extra jeopardy of being separated from the team mechanics overnight.

Dakar heavyweight

Dakar heavyweight Peterhansel and co-driver David Castera (FRA) had opened the road in their MINI John Cooper Works Buggy. The French duo did fantastically well to hold their position out front across the finish line.

"If you compare the first three days, this was something completely different. There were no dunes at all, only big valleys with a big open landscape and lots of fesh-fesh," said Peterhansel.

Tough day

Nine-time (World Rally Championship (WRC) winner Sebastien Loeb (FRA) battled back from a tough day along with defending champion Carlos Sainz (ESP) and Cyril Despres (FRA).

The Dakar convoy will reunite for a race back to Arequipa. Big distances are on the menu again for stage five as the competitors are tossed into the Ilo dunes.

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