2020 Dakar Rally: Peterhansel Wins 80th Career Stage as Marathon Closes

He may not win the war, but Stephane Peterhansel’s Thursday at the 2020 Dakar Rally saw him win the battle for the 80th time in what may be the most illustrious career in the history of the event. The Frenchman nipped defending race winner Nasser Al-Attiyah by 10 seconds in the daily classification for his fourth stage victory of 2020, but was only able to erase eight minutes of Carlos Sainz’s 18-minute lead as the marathon stage drew to a close with racers returning to Haradh from Shubaytah.

Such was the case on the motorcycles as well, as Pablo Quintanilla scored his second stage win in three days and whittled away 11 minutes of Ricky Brabec’s lead. But the American’s advantage still remains just a tick under 14 minutes going into Friday’s rally-closing stage from Haradh to Qiddiya. Defending rally winner Toby Price completes the current podium, just over seven minutes ahead of Red Bull KTM teammate Matthias Walkner, who finished nine seconds behind Quintanilla in today’s action.

Defending SSV winner Chaleco Lopez found himself in a similar situation to Peterhansel and Quintanilla, gaining more than 17 minutes on overall leader Casey Currie but still finding it too little, too late. Currie’s lead over Sergei Kariakin is now the largest of the rally at 45 minutes and 33 seconds, with Lopez the only other racer within an hour of the lead. At an event where no American has ever scored the overall victory, a standard Friday for both Brabec and Currie could see the United States as the only country with multiple race winners this year.

511 Karginov Andrey (rus), Mokeev Andrey (rus), Leonov Igor (rus), Kamaz, Kamaz – Master, Truck, Camion, action during Stage 11 of the Dakar 2020 between Shubaytah and Haradh, 744 km – SS 379 km, in Saudi Arabia, on January 16, 2020 – Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

On quads, Rafal Sonik scored a three-minute victory over class leader Ignacio Casale, whose lead over Simon Vitse remains a comfortable 21 minutes going into Friday. Andrey Karginov was the only overall leader to win his class on Thursday, as he took his sixth stage victory of the rally and Kamaz trucks swept the top four spots; Karginov’s lead is nearly 40 minutes over teammate Anton Shibalov, who has three stage wins of his own.

American fans can watch both legs of the marathon stage on Thursday on the NBC Sports Network, with yesterday’s update from Haradh to Shubaytah at 6PM ET/3PM PT and today’s leg from Shubaytah back to Haradh following immediately after. Racers now turn their attention to the final stage of the rally, with only 167 kilometers of special stage left to make up time in the chase to Qiddiya. NBCSN will show all of its daily update broadcasts from Stage 3 in Neom forward starting on Friday at 1PM ET/10AM PT, leading up to Friday’s final stage broadcast at 6PM ET/3PM PT.

Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.

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