Yazeed Al-Rajhi wins the 7th stage of the Dakar, no change in general

The Saudi Yazeed Al-Rajhi finally won on Saturday at the end of the 7th special of the Dakar, 333 km long, disputed between canyons and valleys. The day’s stage then proved to be more brittle, with rolling but stony areas that were prone to punctures.

After a cautious start, the Toyota driver accelerated once on the less steep sections and through the dunes near the finish to get the better of the Lithuanian Vaidotas Zala (Prodrive) ahead of him by 8’53” arrival. Al-Rajhi is now 16th overall.

Once again, the Toyotas left their mark on the day, registering another stage victory on their list, while consolidating their group domination in the general classification.

Four Toyotas in the lead, Loeb 5th

Nasser al-Attiyah (Toyota), leader of the event, rolled inside, conceding nearly 20 minutes to the winner of the day, also on a Toyota. It doesn’t matter, since the South African Henk Lategan, who follows him in general, only took five short minutes from him and remains more than an hour (1h01’04”) in general from the master of the desert.

There are therefore always four Toyotas in the first four places of the general classification. Only Sébastien Loeb (Prodrive) interferes in this Toyota show, being now fifth with nearly 2 hours of disbursements. He is ahead of a fifth Toyota, driven by Frenchman Romain Dumas.

Mattias Ekström is the big loser of the stage, although he was leading the special halfway through. He had to stop for a long time to repair his Audi, even benefiting from the help of Carlos Sainz (Audi) and his co-driver to hope to be able to resume the race.

Erik Van Loon taken care of by the medical service

The stage was also marked by the accident of Dutch driver Erik Van Loon who lost control of his Toyota at km 99 of the day’s special. The shock caused a short loss of consciousness, but Van Loon was then taken care of conscious by the medical service of the race. Suffering from neck pain, he was airlifted to hospital for a full medical checkup. Erik Van Loon and his co-driver Sébastien Delaunay occupied 11th position in the general classification this morning.


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