Dakar: Stacey takes Stage 11 in trucks; Nikolaev cuts 2:10 from leader Mardeev

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Hans Stacey’s first-day win in the 2015 Dakar Rally has now been paired with a second one in Thursday’s Stage 11.

The Iveco driver has slid back since his Stage 1 victory to more than two and a half hours off the pace in the overall truck standings.

But Stacey led ’em all to the bivouac on Thursday, beating runner-up and fellow Iveco driver Gerard de Rooy by one minute, 10 seconds.

Behind them both was Eduard Nikolaev, who finished 1:56 behind Stacey in third place. But the Russian made some headway in his chase of Ayrat Mardeev and the overall lead.

Mardeev could not match Nikolaev and finished ninth in the stage, losing 2:10 from his advantage. As we head for the penultimate stage tomorrow, the two KAMAZ drivers are separated by 11 minutes, 11 seconds with everything still to play for.

Following the recent withdrawals of both Ignacio Casale and Sergio Lafuente, overall quads leader Rafal Sonik seemingly has things under control with two stages left.

The Polish rider finished sixth in Stage 11 to maintain his big overall advantage at two hours, 50 minutes over Jeremias Gonzalez, who finished one spot ahead of him on Thursday.

Up front, the day belonged to Christophe Declerck of France. He took the stage by six minutes, 35 seconds over two-time 2015 stage winner Nelson Sanabria.

The other big news item of the day in the quads was the departure of Victor Gallegos (broken engine). Gallegos had won Stage 9 just two days before.