Pressure on Carlos Sainz as Stephane Peterhansel edges Nasser Al-Attiyah in Dakar Rally Stage 9

Driver Stephane Peterhansel, of France, and co-driver Paulo Fiuza, of Portugal, race their Miniduring stage nine of the Dakar Rally between Wadi Al Dawasir and Haradth, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 14 January 2020

Pressure on Carlos Sainz as Stephane Peterhansel edges Nasser Al-Attiyah in Dakar Rally Stage 9

  • The veteran Spaniard, in his Mini, was off the leading duo’s pace all stage
  • Local favorite Yasir Seaidan (Race) came in third

HARADH: Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel edged defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah by just 15 seconds to win stage nine of the Dakar Rally on Tuesday as pressure mounted on overall leader Carlos Sainz.
Nicknamed ‘Mr. Dakar’ for his 13 previous Dakar victories (seven in a car and six on a bike), Mini driver Peterhansel clocked 3hr 08min 31sec on the 410km special of the mammoth 886km stage. It was his third stage win of this Dakar, being held for the first time in Saudi Arabia.
“Today it was, again, a stage with full attack,” said Peterhansel. “We tried to push at full attack from the beginning, but never opening the gas too much.”

Local favorite Yasir Seaidan (Race) came in third while overall race leader Sainz finished fifth, 6min 31sec off the pace.
The veteran Spaniard, in his Mini, was off the leading duo’s pace all stage, and sees his lead cut to just 24sec over Toyota’s Al-Attiyah.
Peterhansel remains in third place in the general classification, 6:38 off the pace.
Al-Attiyah said he was content with a good day’s racing.

“We tried to do our best and today I think we did a really good stage,” said the driver who has represented Qatar in six Olympic Games, winning bronze in the men’s skeet event in London in 2012.
“I’m quite happy to close the gap with Carlos.
“I think tomorrow and after tomorrow will be very, very difficult for everybody. It’s good tomorrow that Stephane is opening on marathon day. We’ll see now about Carlos, but, okay, it looks like the three cars are very close together. For all three of us, it is possible that one can win the Dakar.”
Peterhansel added: “We’ll try to keep the pressure on the leader.”
In the motorbike category, resuming after stage eight was canceled following the death of Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves, Pablo Quintanilla notched up his first win.

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READ MORE: Dedicated Arab News Dakar Rally spotlight

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The Chilean, on a Husqvarna, won the special with a lead of almost two minutes over Australia’s defending champion Toby Price.
As a result, he continues to put pressure on general standings leader Ricky Brabec, the American Honda rider nevertheless managing to limit the damage (+20:53) by finishing less than four minutes behind the day’s winner in fourth spot.
Wednesday’s stage 10 from Haradh to Shubaytah takes competitors into the infamous ‘Rub Al-Khali’ or ‘Empty Quarter’, a huge sand desert that spreads from host country Saudi Arabia into neighboring Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Vast off-road expanses feature, with the last 30 kilometers of the stage going right through the dunes in what promises to be a tough challenge.

 

 


‘Fake news’: Paul Pogba denies quitting France team over Macron comments

Updated 26 October 2020

‘Fake news’: Paul Pogba denies quitting France team over Macron comments

  • Pogba added that he was taking legal action against the publishers

PARIS: Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba on Monday denied media reports that said he quit the France national team over comments made by the country’s President Emmanuel Macron which were perceived to be against Islam.
The French leader this month declared war on “Islamist separatism,” which he believes is taking over some Muslim communities in France.
The Sun newspaper alleged that Pogba, a practicing Muslim, reacted to Macron’s comments by quitting the national team.
“Unacceptable,” the 27-year-old wrote on a Twitter post along with a “fake news” sticker on a screenshot of the headline from The Sun.


“So The Sun did it again,” he added on Instagram. “Absolutely 100% unfounded news about me are going around, stating things I have never said or thought.
“I am appalled, angry, shocked and frustrated some ‘media’ sources use me to make total fake headlines in the sensible subject of French current events and adding the French national team to the pot.
“I am against any and all forms of terror and violence. Unfortunately, some press people don’t act responsibly when writing the news, abusing their press freedom, not verifying if what they write/reproduce is true, creating a gossip chain without caring (if) it affects people’s lives and my life.”


Pogba added that he was taking legal action against the publishers.
“We reported on a story that Paul Pogba had taken the decision to quit the French national football team after it was published on a sports website,” The Sun newspaper said in a statement. “The story was also published by The Mirror, Mail Online and other websites.
“Subsequently, Paul Pogba has denied the claim and we have updated our story accordingly. We apologize for any upset caused.”
The report came days after Macron paid tribute to a French history teacher who was beheaded by a radical for using cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of expression for 13-year-olds.