For Stéphane Peterhansel, the Dakar Rally is over after less than a week. The record winner has to give up after an accident in which his passenger is injured. Carlos Sainz also had an accident at the same place.
Record winner Stéphane Peterhansel retired from the 45th Dakar Rally after an accident with his hybrid Audi. The 57-year-old Frenchman had to retire during the sixth stage from Ha'il to Riyadh after his co-driver and compatriot Edouard Boulanger was injured in the accident. This was announced by the organizers of the desert race.
The organizers also announced that veteran Carlos Sainz in the Audi, who had finished second the day before, had an accident at the same place. Details about the incident of the father of Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz jr. were not initially published. The Ferrari driver had recently visited his 60-year-old father on site. "I love it here," Carlos Sainz junior summed up his impressions on Instagram.
The accident of eight-time overall winner Peterhansel happened after 212 kilometers, the Audi driver was in the lead at this point of the race day. After five stages, the Frenchman was in second place in the overall standings behind defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah in the Toyota, 22:36 minutes behind.
The organizers decided on Thursday that the planned route of the rally cannot continue due to the heavy rainfall in Saudi Arabia. The sixth stage from Ha'il to Al-Duwadimi was then shortened by 100 kilometers. The entire entourage then goes to the capital Riyadh, 300 kilometers away, as the bivouac in Al-Duwadimi cannot be occupied.
So-called marathon stages are now held at the weekend. In this way, an "equivalent course" should be created for the competition, as the organizers justified. The seventh stage on Saturday runs from Riyadh to Al-Duwadimi before the eighth leg takes the riders back from Al-Duwadimi to Riyadh.