The 2018 Dakar Rally really heated up on the dunes of the 296km special stage between Pisco and San Juan de Marcona, on Monday 7 January.
With everyone pushing hard and jostling to gain minutes on the leaderboard early in the race, it made for an exciting day of racing.
After Team Peugeot Total dominated on Sunday, Nasser Al-Attiyah needed a big day. He delivered in style by fighting back to win Stage three and confirm he is a serious contender.
The Qatari opened up a lead early in the day and powered to the finish in his Toyota Hilux with a gap of four minutes over overall leader Stéphane Peterhansel in second. Carlos Sainz followed nearly six minutes back with Cyril Despres and Sébastien Loeb losing more time.
Al-Attiyah said: “We did a good job, there was no drama and Mathieu is feeling good. We were pushing, and the punctures only cost us three minutes. The Hilux handed the dunes very well.”
The new Toyota Hilux weighs 80kg less than last year’s Hilux Evo and has 3cm more suspension clearance. Nasser Al-Attiyah took full advantage of his Hilux’s dynamic qualities. These modifications are permitted by new FIA rules that came into force recently, to strike a balance between the performance of two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles.
Elsewhere, Mini driver Nani Roma suffered an accident one kilometre from the finish. Despite making it to the end, he required medical treatment and was transported to the local hospital.
Source: Red Bull Content Pool
— Giniel de Villiers (@TheRealGiniel) January 8, 2018