Nasser Al-Attiyah made a rare mistake nine miles from the end of Stage 6 of the Dakar Rally and handed the win over to Sebastien Loeb.
Looking for a waypoint, Al-Attiyah drove into the wrong valley, which allowed Loeb to get to the end of the stage 2:17 ahead of the class leader.
“We did a great job all day long, but we made a blunder in the final 15 kilometres,” Al-Attiyah said at Dakar.com. “We went down the wrong valley, and then it took us a long time to backtrack and get back on the right track. It cost us several minutes, but I’m still happy with our position. It was a good performance, even though I know Sébastien is fighting and I’ll have to battle hard. It’s not really that comfortable, but it’s good to have this very difficult stage behind us.”
Here are some of the other highlights:
In the cars class, Sebastien Loeb’s stage victory came after he passed the spot where he crashed last year. … Nasser Al-Attiyah’s rare mistake was not enough to cost him the class lead; he holds it by more than 37 minutes over Loeb. … Carlos Sainz finished third in the stage, but remains more than five hours behind the leader in 11th. … Stephane Peterhansel lost nearly 17 minutes to Al-Attiyah and finished sixth in the stage. His time was lost when he stopped to render assistance to Cyril Despres and got stuck himself.
Class Leaders: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 37:43 over Loeb and 41:14 over Peterhansel
In motorcycles, Pablos Quintanilla became the sixth different rider to win one of the first six stages. … Kevin Benavides scored his second stage podium with a rally-best second-place finish. … Matthias Walkner rounded out the top three. … Toby Price protected his position of third in the class rankings by finishing fourth in the stage. … Ricky Brabec lost 7:30 to the class leader Quintanilla. … Sam Sunderland was first on the course and lost his way. He also his rear brake and almost 23 minutes before finding his way home. … Skylar Howes scored his first Dakar stage top 10 in Stage 5, but was injured in the dunes and forced to retire while running in the top 20 in class.
Class Leaders: Quintanilla holds an advantage of 4:38 over Brabec and 5:17 over Price
In side by sides Francisco Lopez Contardo became the first rider to score two stage wins; his first came in Stage 2. … Gerard Farres Guell finished 12:31 off the pace, while Casey Currie scored his first podium finish of the rally. … Second in the class rankings, Sergei Kariakin finished in fourth.
Class Leaders: Guell holds an advantage of 13:31 over Kariakin and 32:36 over Varela
In quads, Nicolas Cavigliasso’s dominance continued with his fifth stage win. Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli lost 17:19 and now trails by more than one hour. … Manuel Andujar scored his first podium of the rally.
Class Leaders: Cavigliasso holds an advantage of one hours, 6:49 over Ferioli and one hour, 30:36 over Gustavo Gallego
In trucks, Dmitry Sotnikov scored his first stage win of the season by 21:09 over Gerard de Rooy … Federico Villagra rounded out the top three. … … Eduard Nikolaev finished just off the podium in fourth, but maintained the class lead.
Class Leaders: Nikolaev holds an advantage of 10:13 over Sotnikov and 1 hour, 50:03 over De Rooy
Joan Barreda  (Stage 1), Matthias Walkner  (Stage 2), Xavier de Soultrait  (Stage 3), Ricky Brabec  (Stage 4), Sam Sunderland  (Stage 5) and Pablo Quintanilla  (Stage 6)
Nicolas Cavigliasso  (Stage 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6) and Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli  (Stage 3)
Sebastien Loeb  (Stage 2, 5 and 6), Nasser Al-Attiyah  (Stage 1 and 4) and Stephane Peterhansel  (Stage 3)
Francisco Lopez Contardo  (Stage 2 and 6), Reinaldo Varela  (Stage 1), Gerard Farres Guell  (Stage 3), Sergei Kariakin  (Stage 4) and Rodrigo Piazzoli  (Stage 5)
Eduard Nikolaev  (Stage 1, 2 and 5), Andrey Karginov  (Stage 3 and 4) and Dmitry Sotnikov  (Stage 6)
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