Problems for Carlos Sainz on stage 3 of the Dakar 2021

Al-Attiyah He started first to stage 3 and opening the track, in theory should hurt him, while Carlos Sainz He started in third position just behind his teammate and leader of the general Peterhansel. The plan seemed clear. The Spanish, having a better starting place, had in his hand the power to cut at least 3 minutes to ‘Monsieur Dakar’ reaching you in the sand. After that, the two of them had to roll together to take even more time from a Al-Attiyah that this Tuesday he was gambling by having to set the pace from the first position, with difficult navigation and with 9’14 lost compared to Stéphane. On paper it seemed clear, but at the Dakar nothing can be taken for granted. Anything can happen at any kilometer due to the dangers of the desert and the extreme difficulty of the roadmap of this course. That last one was the one that hit the most Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz in stage 3 this Tuesday, giving up more than 30 minutes when he got lost and did not find his way at kilometer 156 of the special.

Until then, the script for the stage was perfect for Carlos. Starting from behind Peterhansel, the Spaniard caught up with the Frenchman at the second checkpoint, at kilometer 88, and got ahead of the 13-time Dakar winner between cars and motorcycles. Stéphane, as planned, stuck to the vehicle of ‘The matador’ and both should then begin to cut differences with Al-Attiyah, but none of that was fulfilled. Nasser, with a perfect stage despite starting first, did not make a single mistake and led in all the checkpoints from kilometer 183. That was the key point, since while Peterhansel he would manage to pass 2’41 ”from the Qatari, Sainz was turning around on himself, without finding the right path.

[+] The place where Sainz and Cruz got lost and the subsequent explanations of the Spanish co-pilot:

This made the Spaniard reach the end of that fourth stage of the special, before the equator of the day, yielding 31’50 ”with respect to Al-Attiyah and about 29 with his partner MINI. From one moment to the next, Carlos had a difficult time on the Dakar. He had to press to make up for the time lost since then, but despite the many kilometers that remained of special, the fact that this Tuesday there were high speed tracks allowed Nasser to take advantage of his 4×4 in a favorable terrain to do what you like the most, go to the top and with the knife between your teeth. This, and a good navigation of the ‘Prince of the Desert’, who moved like a fish in water on a terrain that was most similar to the patio of his house, made Charles could not go back, ending 31’02 ”behind the Qatari.

In this way, Sainz dropped to fourth place overall, at 33’34 “ of Peterhansel, which maintained its lead for 5’09 ”over Al-Attiyah despite having to stop for a few minutes to solve a mechanical problem in his MINI. In third position was placed Mathieu Serradori, at 26’21 ”.

Hard blow

The hammer for Sainz It was tremendous, but nothing can be taken for granted at the Dakar, as things can happen at any moment. However, there are several negative points of what happened to the Spanish crew today. The first is that Charles now he stops depending on himself. You need a big mistake from Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah to conquer his fourth Dakar. And in that sense, the French and the Qatari seem the worst partners, since they rarely make serious mistakes.


Also, wasted time Sainz He did not arrive on the best day, since tomorrow, starting beyond position 20, with many cars ahead, he could be seriously affected by dust and slower vehicles. In addition, it is a more transitional stage, of 337 km, more relaxed than these first three, so it will be more complex to take advantage of a delayed starting position to scratch seconds from its two great rivals.

Nasser Al-Attiyah
Nasser Al-Attiyah

All is not lost

However, the best thing for Sainz is that there are still 9 long stages left, many kilometers to go, and the pressure is no longer on your steering wheel. You can try to risk more to start an epic comeback. If there is anyone who can achieve it, that is ‘El Matador’.


1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota) 3H17’39 ”

2. H. Lategan (Toyota) at 2’27 ”

3. Stéphane Peterhansel (MINI) at 4’05 ”

4. Y. Seaidan (SRT) at 7’09 ”

5. Al-Qassimi (Abu Dhabi Racing) at 12’31 ”

6. Sébastien Loeb (BRX) at 13’14 ”

7. Martin Prokomp (Benzina Orlen Team) at 13’42 ”

8. M. Serradori (SRT Racing) at 16’05 ”

16. Nani Roma (BRX) at 26’31 ”

21. Carlos Sainz (MINI) at 31’02 ”

28. De Villiers (Haro as co-driver, with Toyota) at 37’47 ”

30. Isidre Esteve (Toyota Overdrive) at 41’13 ”


1. Stéphane Peterhansel (MINI) 10H39’02 ”

2. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota) 3H17’39 ”

3. M. Serradori (SRT Racing) at 16’05 ”

4. Carlos Sainz (MINI) at 31’02 ”

5. J. Przygonski (Overdrive) at 44’22 ”

6. Sébastien Loeb (BRX) at 45’49 ”

7. H. Lategan (Toyota) at 47’25 ”

8. Y. Seaidan (SRT) at 51’50 ”

9. Al-Qassimi (Abu Dhabi Racing) at 52’08 ”

10. Martin Prokomp (Benzina Orlen Team) at 56’30 ”

11. Nani Roma (BRX) at 1h04’21 ”

24. From Villiers (Haro as co-driver, with Toyota) at 1h46’05 ”

30. Isidre Esteve (Toyota Overdrive) at 2h09’03 ”