Peterhansel wins stage 9 for first success of the year

January 12, 2021

NEOM — Following Mathieu Serradori’s mechanical problems, Stéphane Peterhansel inherited the stage victory, which is his first this year. The Frenchman, in the process, also opened up a gap in the general standings.

He now has a lead of almost 18 minutes over Nasser Al-Attiyah. With three stages to go, things are looking rosy for Peterhansel.

While Peterhansel was at his usual best, Toyota driver Al-Attiyah lost a bit of time with two punctures and navigation troubles on a day that could prove crucial to the outcome of the rally.

Title holder, Carlos Sainz endured a difficult day, losing over 22 minutes after stopping to fix a brake problem on his Mini buggy.

Honda rider Jose Ignacio Cornejo took a step towards victory in the 2021 Dakar Rally's bikes class as he opened up a lead of more than 10 minutes in the wake of Toby Price's crash in the ninth stage.

Cornejo entered Tuesday's 465km loop around Neom with one minute and six seconds in hand over KTM rider Price, having taken his first win of the rally on Monday.

In the lightweight vehicles, after big time losses during Monday’s stage, Aron Domżała took the lead at the 121 km point, putting Seth Quintero 49’’ behind him.

Michał Goczał, Austin Jones, Gerard Farrés and Chaleco López are a little more than one minute behind the leading duo.

Meanwhile, in the truck category, 40 km from the finish, Martin Macík settled into the lead with an advantage of 1’12’’ over Airat Mardeev. Dmitry Sotnikov is still in third place, 2’08’’ behind.

Since the first stage, he has not finished any lower than second place (he did finish third Monday, but took advantage of the penalty handed to Andrey Karginov to move up to second).

At a press conference held after stage 9 of the 2021 edition in NEOM, the organizers set out the Dakar's vision for fostering green innovation in the world of rally raids.

Redefining sustainability, NEOM’s recent announcement of “THE LINE”, confirmed a city comprising carbon-positive urban developments powered by 100% clean energy, providing pollution-free, healthier and more sustainable environments for residents. Mixed-use communities will be built around nature, instead of over it.

The Dakar is launching the ambitious "DakarFuture" energy transition plan. This gradual energy transition has two main planks: the engines powering the cars and trucks in the race and the emissions related to the logistics of the organization.

The Dakar is determined to fully exploit its role as an open-air lab to stimulate, test and validate the technical advances made by the constructors in the knowledge that the race vehicles of today are the production vehicles of tomorrow.

These changes will be introduced at a gradual but steady pace:

• As soon as 2022, a specific "alternative energy" category will be created to put the focus on competitors racing in hybrid, electric or hydrogen-powered cars and trucks, as well as those who implement other emission-slashing technologies. The sporting rules will be adjusted to strike the right balance and make sure every project is competitive.

• In 2026, all elite competitors in the car and truck categories of the Dakar will be required to enter the race with vehicles that meet new ultra-low emission standards.

• After a few years, the development of these technologies is expected to enable amateur competitors to procure vehicles that meet the same standards in order to sign up for the Dakar from 2030. In 2030, both car and truck categories will fully be powered by alternative energy with zero emission. — SG

January 12, 2021
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