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The sixth stage of Dakar 2022 saw GasGas rider Daniel Sanders and Bahrain Raid Xtreme's Orlando Terranova claim victory. GasGas rider Sam Sunderland and Toyota driver Nasser Al-Attiyah continue to lead the bike and car categories respectively as the Dakar rally heads into tomorrow's rest day.
The sixth stage of the Dakar Rally was cut short at the 101-kilometre mark due to safety concerns about the terrain of the route. The 421-kilometre loop had been used yesterday by the cars and trucks and had degraded even further due to the rain.
So instead of riding for the stated 421 kilometres, riders were stopped at the neutralised zone after 101km. Australian GasGas rider Daniel Sanders raced across the sands of Saudi Arabia to claim the shortened stage by a margin of 2 minutes and 26 seconds over teammate Sam Sunderland with a time of 51 minutes and 43 seconds. In third place was KTM's Matthias Walkner, who finished the stage 10 seconds behind Sunderland in the standings.
The highest-ranked rider riding a bike with an Indian name plastered on its fuel tank was Hero's Joaquim Rodrigues in 10th. Rodrigues finished the stage 4 minutes and 29 seconds behind the stage winner. Lorenzo Santolino who finished the stage in 13th was the highest-ranked TVS Sherco rider. Four places and 44 seconds behind Santolino was his teammate Rui Goncalves. Aaron Mare on the other Hero motorsports bike finished 26th and was followed by TVS Sherco's Indian rider Harith Noah in 35th.
In the overall standings, British GasGas rider Sam Sunderland continues to lead the Dakar Rally after finishing 2nd in today's stage. KTM's Matthias Walkner is in 2nd overall, just 2 minutes and 39 seconds behind Sunderland. The final podium spot is occupied by today's stage winner Daniel Sanders, who sits 5 minutes and 35 seconds behind Sunderland.
TVS Sherco rider Santolino currently sits in the 6th spot, 18 minutes and 22 seconds off the lead. Hero's Aaron Mare is 10 places behind the Santolino's TVS in 16th with the South African currently 55 minutes and 11 seconds behind Sunderland.
Mare's teammate, Rodrigues sits in the 17th spot. Rodrigues is nearly 10 minutes behind his teammate in the overall standings. TVS Sherco's Indian rider Harith Noah now sits in the 28th spot with Goncalves just four spots behind in 31st overall.
The sixth stage of the Dakar Rally saw drivers blast across a 348-kilometre long loop around the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh. The lead of the stage changed hands multiple times but the eventual winner of the stage was Bahrain Raid Xtreme's Orlando Terranova pip Audi's Mattias Ekstrom by just 1 minute and 6 seconds.
Claiming the final podium spot was Saudi Overdrive Toyota driver, Yazeed Al Rajhi who finished the stage 1 minute and 49 seconds behind the Terranova to climb into second in the overall standings. Sebastian Loeb endured a torrid day to finish 31st, 21 minutes and 31 seconds behind the stage winner. Loeb, who once led the stage, lost 25 minutes after taking the wrong route post the 120-kilometre mark.
Despite finishing the stage in the 10th spot, Toyota's Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to lead the rally and looks set to cruise to victory barring a nightmarish second half of the rally. Al-Attiyah now sits 48 minutes and 54 seconds ahead of Saudi Arabia's Yazeed Al Rajhi with Sebastian Loeb in third place a further minute and a half behind.
Thoughts About Dakar 2022 Stage 6
The final stage before the rest day in the Dakar 2022 schedule was a dramatic one. In the car's section, the lead changed hands multiple times before Orlando Terranova pipped Al Rajhi to the post by just 66 seconds. In the bikes category, Aussie rider Daniel Sanders claimed his second full stage win of this year's Dakar in a stage shortened by safety concerns over today's chosen route.
With Dakar 2022 heading into its only rest day tomorrow, the bikes category looks set to provide fireworks in the second half of the rally while the cars section seems to be wrapped up already with Al-Attiyah in a nigh unassailable position up front.