Bengaluru, January 17: Qatar’s defending champion Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah saved his best for the last and won the final stage of the Dakar Rally 2020 in Saudi Arabia, but it came too late as veteran Spanish driver Carlos Sainz won the rally for the third time.

The 57-year-old, who had previously won Dakar in 2010 and 2018, led from stage 3 and crossed the finish line in Qiddiya 6min, 21sec ahead of nearest challenger Al Attiyah, who had managed to cut Sainz’s lead to just 24sec on stage 9, but fell back after navigation mistakes in stage 10. Sainz’s MINI team-mate and rally legend Stephane Peterhansel ended up third at 9min, 58sec behind.

Both the Frenchman and Sainz won four stages each in the marathon 12-day, 7,800 kms race which was overshadowed by the tragic death of Portuguese bike driver Paulo Goncalves on stage 6.
MINI driver Sainz, was in a class of his own throughout the 12-day rally, which was being held in a Middle East country for the first time. Having bagged four stage wins over the course of the marathon, Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz arrived into the final day of competition with a 10-minute buffer over Al Attiyah and Peterhansel.

Final positions

1 Carlos Sainz Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 42h59m17.s
2 Nasser Al-Attiyah Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 6m21.s
3 Stephane Peterhansel Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 9m58.s
4 Yazeed Al-Rajhi Overdrive Toyota Toyota 49m10.s
5 Giniel de Villiers Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1h07m09.s
6 Orlando Terranova X-Raid Team Mini/BMW 1h12m15.s
7 Bernhard Ten Brinke Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1h18m34.s
8 Mathieu Serradori SRT Racing Century/? 1h59m21.s
9 Yasir Saeidan Race World Team Mini/BMW 3h42m17.s
10 Wei Han Geely Auto Shell Lubricant Team Hanwei/Geely 3h51m07.s
11 Jerome Pelichet Raidlynx Optimus/MD 4h01m34.s
12 Martin Prokop MP Sports Ford 4h04m19.s
13 Fernando Alonso Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 4h42m47.s