Sainz caresses the victory after trimming the marathon stage

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The marathon stage of the Dakar 2020 will go to the annals of raid history through two scenes. The first came in the first kilometer of the timed special and had Fernando Alonso as the protagonist. Aware that this Wednesday was a day to be crowned, he set himself the goal of flying over the sand towards what would be his first stage victory. The problem is that the flight was taken literally, and he did if he did: he flew off the ground several meters until he landed on the hillside and made several bell turns. From the Dakar they immortalized the moment with slow motion included, in which it is already one of the scenes that will be stuck in the memory of the Dakarian fans.

Alonso fell to his feet, also literally, after the accident. The Toyota was seriously touched: two wheelless wheels, a broken suspension arm and the shattered windshield. Even with the scare on the body, Alonso and Marc Coma got out of the car and got down to work to fix it, before the astonished gaze of the spectators who had approached the area to see their idols pass. In just an hour, the Spaniard was already on the move again, although with showy motocross glasses to continue watching.

It was the first chapter of a stage 10 of the Dakar that crowned, and they are four in this edition, to Carlos Sainz. The Madrilenian left the camp with his eyes on after what happened the day before. Seeing Nasser Al-Attiyah in the standings just 24 seconds away from him was the best motivation to go biting on the difficult marathon day. He could not give in any more, given that there are two days of competition left: a stalemate on the toughest day of the Dakar, and it would be final.

Fernando Alonso, after his mishap on the stage. / Franck Fife (AFP)

In the absence of about 750 kilometers of competition, Sainz has managed to send Al-Attiyah to more than 18 minutes. The Qatari erred in navigation on one of the worst possible days, something that also happened to Stepháne Peterhansel but to a lesser extent. In fact, the French weighed more open track that does not take the Mini where it should, although his victory options were lower on this day. Halfway through the day, Sainz already had a mattress of more than fifteen minutes, which became 17 at kilometer 345 of the 534 on which the day was planned.

The day ended long before. After neutralization to refuel, the organization detected that it was very difficult to continue safely. The strong gusts of wind not only raised large clouds of sand, but also prevented the helicopters from flying safely. The protocol is clear, and this applies to the Dakar or to any motor competition: if the helicopter cannot take off, the stage is canceled. And that is what they did: when there were still almost 200 kilometers of day remaining and several motorcycles were already facing the final stretch, they decided to end the stage after the fourth checkpoint. Sainz took the victory sooner than expected, Al-Attiyah saw his progression cut off and Fernando Alonso arrived an hour and 17 minutes later, what seen the virulence of the coup means a small loss.

Reaching 56th of the cars has been the least of the consequences for the F1 expilot. 32 SxS and 25 trucks have completed the stage faster than him, and since in the marathon stage you can not ask for the replacement wildcard (which would be used to be located in a closer area above), you will have to leave the 113th. He is not the only one harmed by this factor: Peterhansel will leave 15th despite finishing 10th and Al-Attiyah, 25th. More distance with Sainz yet.

Joan Barreda
Joan Barreda / Hamad I Mohammed (Reuters)

Barreda opens champagne for the first time in 2020

It has taken ten stages to achieve it, but finally the first stage for Joan Barreda arrived. The Valencian imposed his partner Ricky Brabec for just over a minute, at a stage in which the final suspension benefited him. The American was not going to risk more than he should in any case, but he did not even have the opportunity to do so. In the absence of two days, the Honda rider has an advantage over 25 minutes with Pablo Quintanilla and more than 27 over Barreda himself. With managing the margin, it is worth it.

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