Alonso survives first Dakar stage in Saudi Arabia dominated by Minis

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Bahrain JCW X-Raid team Mini's driver Stephane Peterhansel of France and his co-driver Paulo Fiuza of Portugal compete during the Stage 1 of the Dakar 2020 between Jeddah and Al Wajh. (AFP)
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A driver makes early morning preparations on Sunday, ahead of the 2020 Dakar Rally. (AFP)
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Monster Energy Honda Team's Ricky Brabec in action during stage one of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
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Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team ridden by Andrew Short of the US in action during stage one. (Reuters)
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Borgward Rally Team driven by Spain's Nani Roma and Daniel Oliveras Carreras in action during stage one. (Reuters)
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Team Toyota Gazoo Racing driven by Netherlands' Bernhard ten Brinke and Belgium's Tom Colsoul in action during stage one. (Reuters)
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French driver Romain Dumas and co-driver Alexandre Winocq car burns during the Stage 1 of the Dakar 2020 between Jeddah and Al Wajh, Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
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Red Bull Ktm factory team biker Toby Price of Australia powers his Ktm motorbike during the Stage 1 of the Dakar 2020 between Jeddah and Al Wajh. (AFP)
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Updated 06 January 2020

Alonso survives first Dakar stage in Saudi Arabia dominated by Minis

  • Alonso, is trying to make history as the first Formula One champion to win the event

AL-WAJH, Saudi Arabia: Dakar Rally debutant Fernando Alonso avoided any first stage pitfalls as the 2020 edition of motorsport's gruelling 7,500 kilometre marathon began in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Alonso, trying to make history as the first Formula One champion to win the event, completed the drive from Jeddah to Al Wajh in his Toyota in 11th place.

 


The 38-year-old Spaniard, with five-time Dakar bike champion Marc Coma navigating, was over quarter of an hour behind surprise stage winner Vaidotas Zala.
The Lithuanian led home a 1-2-3 for Mini, 2mins 14sec clear of teammates Stephane Peterhansel, the 13-time Dakar champion, and Carlos Sainz.
'Mr Dakar', as France's Peterhansel is affectionately known, struggled with a language barrier with his new co-driver Paulo Fiuza.
"In 21 editions of the Dakar, I've never had a co-driver talk to me in English, so I need to get used to it," he said.

 

Reflecting on a solid first day's drive Peterhansel added: "There were dunes, sandy plateaus and rocky sectors where we had to walk on eggshells. We're good at adapting to these conditions, we're nimble!"
Last year's winner Nasser Al-Attiyah led the way for over 200km but he had to settle for fourth place after problems with his Toyota.
"It was a hard day, we had three punctures in 10 kilometres, I have no clue what went wrong, it's rather strange," reported the Qatari, over five minutes adrift.
One driver facing an early flight home was France's two-time Le Mans 24 Hour winner Romain Dumas, who could only watch from a safe distance as flames engulfed his car after only 65km.
Defending motorbike champion Toby Price won Sunday's first bike stage, despite losing his roadbook.
"Once the road book is gone, then you're pretty much driving blind," said the 32-year-old Australian.
The KTM rider completed the 752km route over two minutes clear of American Ricky Brabec on a Honda with Austrian Matthias Walkner on another KTM in third.
Monday's second stage is 401km to Neom, a planned futuristic city being built on the Red Sea.


Lebanese footballer dies of bullet wound

Updated 18 September 2020

Lebanese footballer dies of bullet wound

  • Mohamed Atwi, 32, played as a midfielder for a number of Lebanese clubs and won the national league three times with Beirut’s Ansar, his club for almost a decade
  • Tributes poured in for the player, who was also capped three times for his country

BEIRUT: A prominent Lebanese footballer has died of a bullet wound sustained last month during a funeral for one of the victims of the Beirut port blast, his club said Friday.
Mohamed Atwi, 32, played as a midfielder for a number of Lebanese clubs and won the national league three times with Beirut’s Ansar, his club for almost a decade.
“A sad day for sport... a great loss for Lebanese football,” Wael Chehayeb, an official with his latest club Al-Akhaa Al-Ahly, posted on social media.
Tributes poured in for the player, who was also capped three times for his country.
Atwi was hit in the head by a bullet as he walked on a street in a Beirut neighborhood last month.
Initial reports suggested he was struck by a falling bullet fired in the air from a nearby procession mourning one of the firefighters killed in the August 4 port explosion.
Atwi’s family however has demanded a full investigation into the circumstances of his death, over which no arrests have been made.
Shooting in the air for celebrations and funerals is common in Lebanon despite recurring injuries from falling bullets.