Fight of Titans

Intense fight for the victory of the marathon between Sainz, Al Attiyah and Peterhansel who won the Qatari, but the Frenchman continues to lead. Carlos, 38 minutes.


To put ourselves in a situation it is as if we put together Nadal, Djokovic and Federer in a triangle, or invite LeBron, Curry and Durant to a sting. It would be a fight of the titans. The best of the best, three against three, and with a Dakar at stake. That is what was seen in the eighth stage, the one that concluded the marathon, among the great figures of the rally raid, the trio that everyone aspires to reach, but none can: Sainz, Al Attiyah and Peterhansel. It is a pity that the Spaniard is still far from the fight to win in the desert, but with days like this it is worth continuing to fight.

And it is that in the 375 kilometers that joined Sakaka and Neom, with a landscape that was changing from the dunes to the spectacular roads between canyons and mountains, the three starred in an intense battle for victory with differences that were around the minute for almost 300 km. That was when one of them, Peterhansel, lost his rope and the option of winning slipped away. The three-way fight ended in a duel between Sainz and Al Attiyah, the winners of the most in 2021, and in the end the Qatari won for only 52 seconds.

Although Carlos did not stop being there until the end, he could never take the first position from Nasser (something that Stéphane did with the other Mini) and the Toyota driver took his fourth victory of this edition. Of course, more than anyone else, but it is still not enough for him to take the lead from the Frenchman in the X-Raid, although he cut three minutes and is less than five in the general, something that is good news for Peterhansel. Yes, they read correctly, they are good because he went to the special with a serious suspension fault that he and his co-driver fixed as best they could.

They appeared at Sakaka, where the first half of the stage ended, with a fully split right rear suspension arm, but they did a good job and performed a similar miracle to Price on motorcycles. Overcoming problems like this is what makes a Dakar win. Sainz was also able to get a little closer to his partner and falls below the 40-minute barrier: he remains at 38:55, but that failure of his two equals that would put him back in the fight still does not arrive. But, while you wait to see if it happens, you just enjoy stages like this.

None of the three protagonists opened the stage, that was done by Al Rajhi, and he paid dearly with a mechanical problem that made him give up more than an hour. Who seems to have been looked at by a one-eyed man, a black cat or something like that is Loeb, who in 80 km suffered a breakdown and ran out of spare wheels. When hits are bad ... Despres completed a great marathon and was seen again from the top with his hydrogen-powered Peugeot 12 minutes from Al Attiyah. Rome lost about half an hour, far from that fight of the titans in the desert.

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