Alonso second on Dakar stage eight, behind Serradori

Toyota’s Hilux Overdrive driver Peter Van Merksteijn of the Netherlands and co-driver Michael Orr of Britain compete in the Stage 8 of the Dakar 2020 around Wadi Ad-Dawasir. (AFP)
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Updated 13 January 2020

Alonso second on Dakar stage eight, behind Serradori

  • Serradori finished 4min 4sec ahead of Toyota’s Alonso, with Argentinean Mini driver Orlando Terranova in third, at 6:19
  • Alonso, who had finished four times in the top 10 without having made the podium in a stage, was quick to heap praise on his co-driver/navigator Marc Coma

WADI AD-DAWASIR, Saudi Arabia: Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso recorded his best result of the Dakar Rally on Monday, finishing second behind Frenchman Mathieu Serradori on stage eight.
The stage was shrouded in mourning after the death on Sunday of Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves.
The motorbike and quadbike categories were canceled for the stage, a 477km loop incorporating straight sections with several chains of dunes to test handling skills.
“I’d like to dedicate this victory to Paulo because I’m a former biker,” said Serradori, an amateur who drives an SRT.
“It’s not easy to get motivated after a day like that and my co-pilot Fabien was there as well. But there are two fighters in the car and I’m very happy with this result.”
Serradori finished 4min 4sec ahead of Toyota’s Alonso, with Argentinean Mini driver Orlando Terranova in third, at 6:19.
Alonso, who had finished four times in the top 10 without having made the podium in a stage, was quick to heap praise on his co-driver/navigator Marc Coma, a five-time Dakar champion on a motorbike.
“Today we had an amazing day,” said Alonso. “We had one puncture unfortunately and we lost a little bit of momentum there, but otherwise the stage was nearly perfect and Marc was unbelievable, you know — the dunes, the navigation.
In his first Dakar Alonso had limited ambitions ruled out winning a stage but now he believes it is within his grasp.
“Initially I thought it was impossible,” he said. “But after today, obviously when you are second maybe there is a chance, so we will try.”
He said not having motorbikes setting the route had upset the rhythm of the stage.
“Having no bikes changed a lot, especially for the first two or three cars,” he said.
“I benefitted from starting from the back... I’m happy to complete the day without any issues. It was a beautiful stage, quite fast with a lot of dunes, so it was good. I think the dunes are harder than tracks, but for whatever reason I feel more comfortable.
“I’m not coming from the dunes at all but it seems that I can get a good rhythm and a good flow in the dunes and I’m enjoying so far this second week of the Dakar.”
His second place sees him consolidate his 13th place in the overall standings, more than 3hr 10min off the pace set by Carlos Sainz.
The battle continues atop the general classification between the leading trio of two-time winner Sainz, defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah and Stephane Peterhansel, a 13-time winner (seven in cars, six on bikes).
Sainz had to open the way on the stage and was swiftly caught by Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel. But the veteran Spaniard then drove his Mini to keep pace with his rivals, meaning he retains the rally lead, 6:40 ahead of the Qatari and 13:09 in front of the Frenchman.
Tuesday’s 9th stage sees the cavalcade travel to the eastern town of Haradh on a 410km special.


AC Milan's perfect start ends with 3-3 draw with Roma

Updated 16 sec ago

AC Milan's perfect start ends with 3-3 draw with Roma

  • Roma is ninth, five points behind Milan

MILAN: AC Milan’s perfect start to the Serie A season ended with a 3-3 draw against Roma on Monday but the Rossoneri still moved two points clear of Napoli and Sassuolo.
Roma defender Marash Kumbulla equalized six minutes from time following an unintended assist from Zlatan Ibrahimović, who was trying to clear a corner and instead redirected the ball toward the far post where Kumbulla rushed forward to pound it in.
Roma is ninth, five points behind Milan.
Edin Džeko and Jordan Veretout, with a penalty, also scored for Roma.
Ibrahimović scored twice for Milan, which also got a goal from Alexis Saelemaekers with Rafael Leão setting up two of the Rossoneri’s scores.
Ibrahimović needed only one touch to find the net following Leão’s pass over the top less than two minutes in at the San Siro.
Milan was without goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and winger Jens Petter Hauge after both players tested positive for the coronavirus and Donnarumma was missed when Džeko made it 1-1.
Reserve keeper Ciprian Tătărușanu failed to bat away a corner, allowing the ball to reach Džeko, who leaped over Alessio Romagnoli for a header by the far post.
Saelemaekers scored Milan’s second after the break following strong work down the left flank and an expert cross from Leão.
Veretout equalized for Roma with a penalty in the 71st following a debatable foul from Ismaël Bennacer.
Ibrahimović then thought he had sealed victory with a penalty in the 79th following an equally dubious foul by Gianluca Mancini. But the Swedish superstar was to blame for the final goal from Kumbulla, who also scored the winner in Roma’s 2-1 comeback win at Young Boys in the Europa League last week.
It was the first match since a new decree came into effect banning fans at stadiums due to a second wave of coronavirus infections.