(Motorsport-Total.com) – Endless drama on Stage 9 of the 2023 Dakar Rally: Sebastien Loeb takes his third win of the day on a good day for Prodrive. With Henk Lategan (Toyota), the dolphin loses about 40 minutes due to a technical problem. However, Carlos Sainz (Audi) was responsible for the day’s action, if not the rally.
In fact, he was already outside, but in the rescue helicopter, Carlos Sainz changed his mind
The three-time Dakar Rally winner rolled over after just six kilometers. He first tried to repair his Audi RS Q e-tron with Lucas Cruz. Then he apparently gave up and was already taken to hospital in the rescue helicopter because he was complaining of pain in his right chest and right hand. Cruz is unharmed.
However, mid-flight, Sainz changed his mind and asked the helicopter crew to return him to the scene of the accident. There he got off and waited for the Audi service truck. At the time of Tuesday afternoon’s report, he was out of consideration. If he reaches the destination by public road, he will be reported as a failure, but can continue according to the rules of the experiment.
After the rest day, the ninth stage led 686 kilometers from the capital Riyadh to the largest oil field in the world, Ghawar. The destination was the oil town of Harad, which however was at the end of a long connecting leg. The 358 kilometer special stage took place east of Riyadh in a north-south direction.
The majority was driven on solid ground in canyons. In the back section, some sand dunes were on the program – a taste of the infamous Rub al-Khali sand desert which is on the program from Wednesday. At 9 o’clock in the morning, the first cars start the special.
Prodrive triathlon for the victory of the day
It was Sebastien Loeb (Prodrive Hunter). Full of motivation to get on the podium again, he accelerated then fought for the victory of the day with two colleagues from the Prodrive brand: Vaidotas Zala and Guerlain Chicherit. As the stage progressed, Loeb took a lead of just over three minutes, earning his third victory of the day.
The drama started behind him: Only twelve kilometers after the Sainz tragedy, the Toyota of second Henk Lategan stopped at 18 kilometers. Teammate Yazeed al-Rajhi and German teammate Dirk von Zitzewitz immediately rushed to help. They had already fallen far behind at the sixth stage.
© Red Bull Content Group
Sébastien Loeb got his third win of the day and is now in P3 Zoom
Lategan was able to continue after around 40 minutes, but fell back to fourth overall. Al-Rajhi then left the stage, meaning he is now officially a non-runner. The same applies to him as Sainz. Both would still be eligible for World Cross-Country Rally Championship (W2RC) points if they continue to compete. Daily results are also included in this note.
Besides Loeb, Lucas Moraes (Toyota) and his German co-driver Timo Gottschalk were the big beneficiaries. After seeing the drama surrounding Sainz and Lategan with their own eyes, they calmed down and settled for tenth in the day’s standings. But they are now second overall, even if Loeb blows their minds.
“We were very patient today, we let a few cars pass us. We keep an eye on the overall standings, not the daily standings. The car is in very good condition. That’s important,” Moraes said.
Matthias Ekström (Audi), third at half-time on the stage, also had a say in the victory of the day. However, he was intercepted by Chicherit in the second half and finished fourth. Behind them, double Le Mans winner Romain Dumas (Toyota) posted a solid fifth place for Rebellion Racing.
And Nasser Al-Attiyah? Although only eighth in the daily standings, the Katari emerged from the day as the match winner again. After Lategan’s setbacks, his lead in the standings is now over 80 minutes. He can deal with it with slow foam, but as we know, there are no guarantees in the Dakar Rally.
Result of stage 9 (Top 10):
01. Loeb/Lurquin (Prodrive Hunter) – 3:05:14 hours
02. Zala/Fiuza (Prodrive Hunter) +3:07 minutes
03. Chicherit/Winoc (Prodrive Hunter) +4:18
04. Ekström/Bergqvist (Audi) +7:21
05. Dumas/Delfino (Toyota) +9:48
06. Przygonski/Monléon (Mini) +10:33
07. de Villiers/Murphy (Toyota) +11:05
08. Al-Attiyah/Baumel (Toyota) +11:08
09. Halpern/Graue (Mini) +12:18
10. Moraes/Gottschalk (Toyota) +12:43
General classification after 9 of the 14 stages (top 10):
01. Al-Attiyah/Baumel (Toyota) – 34:19:20 hours
02. Moraes/Gottschalk (Toyota) +1:21:57
03. Loeb/Lurquin (Prodrive Hunter) +1:43:08
04. Lategan/Cummings (Toyota) +1:46:23
05. de Villiers/Murphy (Toyota) +2:04:17
06. Dumas/Delfino (Rebellion) +2:25:51
07. Prokop/Chytka (Ford) +2:45:36
08. Baragwanath/Cremer (century) +2:48:06
09. Han/Li (submachine gun) +3:32:15
10. Yacopini/Oliveras Carreras (Toyota) +3:52:52
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