Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah won the fourth stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to go 38 minutes clear in an event under a close security watch after a French team vehicle was hit by an explosion in Jeddah last week.
The factory Toyota driver finished second in the 465km special stage from Al Qaisumah to the capital Riyadh but was promoted after Saudi driver Yazeed al-Rajhi collected a two minute penalty for speeding.
“We tried to keep a good push, without any risks, but our plan today was not to open (the way) tomorrow because there will be no bikes (ahead) and this will be difficult,” said Al Attiyah.
“Even if we lose time (tomorrow) we can start again the day after with a good road position.”
It was the 44th stage win of triple Dakar winner Al Attiyah’s career, and second this year in addition to the prologue.
Nine-times world rally champion Sebastien Loeb, the Qatari’s closest rival with the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team, was second on the longest stage of the rally, 25 seconds behind, with Audi’s Carlos Sainz third.
Sainz’s team mate Stephane Peterhansel, a 14-times Dakar winner but out of contention after a nightmare opening stage, lost more time with a broken shock absorber that forced the Frenchman to wait for assistance.
Stage 4 – 🚗
🥇 Nasser Al-Attiyah 🥈 Sebastien Loeb 🥉 Carlos Sainz