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Attiyah’s WC hopes suffer a big blow

Attiyah’s WC hopes suffer a big blow

Tribune News Network
DOHA
Nasser bin Saleh al Attiyah’s hopes for a fifth FIA World Cup suffered a big blow when the Qatari’s Toyota Hilux came to a halt due to technical issues during the fourth and penultimate stage in the Morocco Rally on Tuesday.
Attiyah and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel, at 205-km mark, stopped for about half an hour and could not restart the car. Then they had to get it towed to the bivouac, ending their expectations not only for the overall title but also for the sixth successive rally crown.
He slipped to 25th spot, trailing leader Giniel de Villiers by one hour and 58 minutes. With only stage to go, it is nearly all over for him in the rally.
According to Motorsport.com website, while overall leader Attiyah’s fortunes took a dip, two-time World Rally champion Carlos Sainz won his second successive stage. The Spaniard is in the overall second spot, four minutes and 47 seconds behind the new leader.
The fourth stage of the five-day event was shortened to 311km from a planned distance of 408km, as non-functioning of one of the helicopters meant organisers weren’t able to guarantee the safety of competitors through the entirety of the route.
In a repeat of Monday’s Stage 3, X-Raid MINI’s Stephane Peterhansel held an early 2m19s lead in the first 64km, before extending that advantage to over four minutes heading into the dune complex.
However, Sainz rapidly clawed back the deficit, moving 1m16s clear before the neutralisation section and eventually winning the stage by 2m36s.
Peterhansel had his own late issues as he dumped his MINI Cooper in a cliff at the 293km, although his buggy escaped any physical damage.
Attiyah and Peterhansel’s troubles meant that his Toyota’s de Villiers moved into the lead for the first time, after finishing third behind winner Sainz and Jakub Przygonski.
Meanwhile, two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his best stage finish with a run to seventh, 27m37s down on Sainz.
The Spaniard is classified ninth overall heading into the final day of his maiden cross-country rally.
The bikes category also saw a new leader in stage 4, as Husqvarna’s Andrew Short seized the top spot amid troubles for the KTM contingent - including Toby Price.
Short leads by just 35 seconds from teammate Pablo Quintanilla, with Honda’s Ricky Brabec 2m12s behind in third.
The stage was won by Paulo Goncalves, who joined Indian manufacturer Hero in April this year.

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