The penultimate stage of this year’s Dakar Rally was quite eventful, with a lot happening. The leader, Nasser Al-Attiyah set the pace in the ninth stage of the rally, claiming his third stage win of this year. After a crash ruled out Peterhansel for the remainder of the rally just 26 kilometers into the stage, it was Nani Roma who was placed best from the MINI crews, finishing second, just 4 minutes behind Al-Attiyah, straightening his lead of the third place driver, Sebastian Loeb, who had a rough stage.
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The biggest news was Peterhansel’s crash which led to concern about the state of his co-driver, David Castera, who had to be transported to a hospital in Lima, with suspicion of spinal fractures. Later it was revealed that was not the case and that he will made a full recovery, but the Dakar Rally is over for the French duo, at least for this edition. “We came over a dune and landed head-on in the next dune,” explained Peterhansel. “Everything went so fast that David, who was looking at the road book at that moment, didn’t expect the impact.”
Sebastian Loeb led for most of the 312-km timed route around Pisco but in the end came in third as his Peugeot stalled in the final stretch. At the moment, he’s still looking set to be on the podium at the end of the rally, as he has a half-hour advantage ahead of the fourth-placed overall driver, X-Raid’s Jakub Przygonski. The second place is held by Nani Roma who sits about an hour ahead of Loeb and about the same behind the leader, Al-Attiyah.
The final stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally will have the teams go from Pisco to Lima but will most likely see the standings unchanged unless the cars get seriously damaged and can’t finish for some unexpected reason.