With motorcycles and quads taking off today’s loop stage at Wadi Al Dawasir after the passing of Paulo Gonçalves on Sunday, Monday’s leg of the Dakar Rally saw a new name atop the daily car standings: Frenchman Mathieu Serradori, who scored his first career stage win with a time of 3:48:23. He beat two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, who finished second on the day, by four minutes and four seconds in the final standings.
Serradori now sits seventh overall and Alonso is up to 13th after his early struggles, but the category remains under the control of two-time Dakar winner Carlos Sainz, even as he gave up nearly four minutes to defending event winner Nasser Al-Attiyah on Monday. Stephane Peterhansel remains in third as the podium is separated by just over 13 minutes with four stages remaining.
Casey Currie remains in control of the SSV class as well, despite giving up nearly 17 minutes to defending champion Chaleco Lopez on Monday as Lopez finished second and Currie finished seventh. Reinaldo Varela was declared the stage winner after Mitch Guthrie Jr. was assessed a whopping 50-hour penalty for recovering the engine of teammate Cyril Despres, denying Guthrie his second stage victory of the event. It was also the second blow to Guthrie’s efforts in two days after yesterday’s mechanical troubles rendered him ineligible for the overall classification.
Only the top of the truck standings appeared familiar to followers of this year’s race, as Andrey Karginov and Anton Shibalov went 1-2 once again for Kamaz. They continue to hold those respective spots in the overall standings, separated by 27:06, with Maz driver Siarhei Viazovich now over an hour off of the lead after a sixth place finish today.
Tomorrow’s stage will take racers from Wadi Al Dawasir to Haradh, with nearly 900 combined miles of special and liaison driving. The NBC Sports Network will air recaps of both Stage 7 and 8, including yesterday’s tribute to Gonçalves, back to back tonight at 6PM ET/3PM PT.