Loeb wins Dakar Rally stage 2, takes overall lead

Rio de Janeiro: Nine-time world car rally champion Sebastien Loeb of France clinched the second stage of the Dakar Rally by holding off Qatari rival Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Loeb took the Resistencia-Tucuman stage in two hours six minutes and 55 seconds in his Peugeot car, one minute and 23 seconds ahead of Toyota driver Al-Attiyah on Tuesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Spain’s Carlos Sainz was third in his Peugeot, two minutes and 18 seconds behind Loeb.

Tuesday’s result lifted Loeb to the top of the overall standings, 28 seconds ahead of Al-Attiyah. Sainz is third, one minute and 56 second behind.

The 2017 Dakar Rally, which is already underway, will feature 12 stages, covering more than 9,000 km in Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina before ending in Buenos Aires on January 14.

Earlier, defending champion Toby Price won the second stage of the motorcycle category.

The 29-year-old Australian finished the 274km stage in two hours 37 minutes and 32 seconds.

His KTM team-mate, Austria’s Matthias Walkner, was second, three minutes and 51 seconds behind, and Paulo Goncalves of Portugal was third, four minutes and six seconds off the pace.

“It was a really, really fast stage but with no navigation,” Price said.

“It was a really long day: We had a 274km special and we’re at 38 or 40C right now, so it’s definitely been a hot one on the bike.”

Price leads the overall standings ahead of Walkner and Goncalves.