Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to dominate Dakar Rally after fourth stage
Rio de Janeiro, Jan 8 (IANS)
Nasser Al-Attiyah and Joan Barreda extended their leads in overall standings in the car and bike categories by winning the 2015 Dakar Rally's fourth stage as the gruelling 9,000km event climbed the Andes and then crossed Chile's Atacama desert.
Al-Attiyah, the 2011 champion, spent the entire fourth stage in the leading group, and ensured the victory with an impressive performance on the last dunes of Wednesday's 315km route, reports Xinhua.
The Qatari driver finished two minutes 40 seconds ahead of Mini team-mate Nani Roma, the defending champion, whose hopes came to a halt in the opening stage when a mechanical problem made him lose more than eight hours.
South Africa's Giniel De Villiers from Toyata ranked third, lagging behind Al-Attiyah two minutes and 57 seconds.
"Giniel's the man to beat, he's always very consistent in the Dakar, always near the top, so putting three minutes into him is great," said Al-Attiyah, who won his second stage win.
"I'll keep doing things this way, driving cautiously and attacking every now and then."
Spanish motorcyclist Joan Barreda also claimed his second stage win by taking his Honda to victory ahead of defending champion Marc Coma on a KTM with Chile's Pablo Quintanilla, also on a KTM, in third.
In the overall standings, Barreda now leads by 12 minutes 49 seconds from Coma with Honda team-mate Paulo Goncalves of Portugal back in third place, 20 min 29 sec off the lead.