Dakar Rally bike leader 'Nacho' retires, Peterhansel set for car title

Dakar Rally bike leader 'Nacho' retires, Peterhansel set for car title
1 / 5
X-Raid Mini JCW Team's Stephane Peterhansel and Co-Driver Edouard Boulanger in action during stage 10. (Reuters)
Dakar Rally bike leader 'Nacho' retires, Peterhansel set for car title
2 / 5
Kamaz' Russian driver Andrey Nonvirgin, co-driver Andrey Mokeev and Igor Lenonov compete during the Stage 10 of the Dakar Rally 2021 between Neom and Alula in Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
Dakar Rally bike leader 'Nacho' retires, Peterhansel set for car title
3 / 5
Overdrive Toyota's Yazeed Al Rajhi and Co-Driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz in action during stage 10. (Reuters)
Dakar Rally bike leader 'Nacho' retires, Peterhansel set for car title
4 / 5
Competitors ride during the Stage 10 of the Dakar Rally 2021 between Neom and Alula in Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
Dakar Rally bike leader 'Nacho' retires, Peterhansel set for car title
5 / 5
Toyota's driver Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar (right) and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel of France compete during the Stage 10 of the Dakar Rally 2021 between Neom and Alula in Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 13 January 2021

Dakar Rally bike leader 'Nacho' retires, Peterhansel set for car title

Dakar Rally bike leader 'Nacho' retires, Peterhansel set for car title
  • Drivers and riders raced through spectacular scenery from NEOM to AlUla
  • The 26-year-old Honda rider, nicknamed 'Nacho,' fell 252km into the 10th stage

ALULA, Saudi Arabia: The Dakar Rally motorbike leader Jose Ignacio Cornejo was forced to retire after a fall on Wednesday with Friday’s finish line agonizingly close as Stephane Peterhansel appeared to have all but wrapped up the car title.
The veteran Mini driver enjoys a 17-minute cushion over Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah and a record-extending 14th Dakar crown now looks his to lose.
“Being in the lead is the best position, but it’s also where you’ve got the most to lose,” said the 55-year-old Frenchman who was first crowned champion in 1991 before luckless Cornejo was even born.

The 26-year-old Honda rider, nicknamed “Nacho,” fell 252km into the 10th stage in Saudi Arabia and although he remounted and completed the stage he agreed with the rally’s medical department to retire for fear of having suffered concussion.
The Dakar was living up to its fearsome reputation for the second time in 24 hours as the Chilean rider was airlifted to hospital where he joined Toby Price, the Australian two-time champion who requires collarbone surgery after suffering a dreadful fall on Tuesday’s ninth stage.
Dazed after landing on his head Price received immediate assistance from defending champion Ricky Brabec, who won Wednesday’s stage to sit just 50 seconds adrift of his Honda teammate, Argentine Kevin Benavides ahead of Thursday’s penultimate and decisive 11th stage.
Price posted a photo of himself from his hospital bed giving a thumbs up on Twitter alongside an update on his medical condition.
“Finally broken my 30th bone! I don’t remember much but I’ve got a pretty sore collarbone, shoulder and hand and will need surgery for that...”
He expressed disappointment at not riding into Jeddah, and thanked Brabec and British rider Sam Sunderland for coming to his rescue.
“Thank you @Sundersam and @rickyB357 for stopping to help me, I was off with the fairies that day but I heard you took good care of me!“
Thursday’s 11th stage features a 464 kilometer timed special, the longest of the rally, from Al Ula to Yanbu.
Peterhansel is approaching the stage with plenty of caution as to what the rest of the Dakar may have in store for him.
He came in third on Wednesday, finishing in runner-up Al-Attiyah’s wing mirrors with the day’s honors going to Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rahji.
“Being in the lead is the best position, but it’s also where you’ve got the most to lose,” said Mini driver Peterhansel.
“The pressure never goes away, from the moment you wake up until you go to bed.
“When you do well in a stage, you know it would be a real pity to see all that effort go down the drain!“
For Al-Attiyah, “tomorrow will decide the Dakar.”
“It’s going to be a tricky stage, but we’ll do our best. There’s no strategy, we’ll just keep driving fast,” said the three-time winner.


Australia says ‘no’ to tennis stars’ calls for COVID-19 quarantine change

Australia says ‘no’ to tennis stars’ calls for COVID-19 quarantine change
Updated 19 January 2021

Australia says ‘no’ to tennis stars’ calls for COVID-19 quarantine change

Australia says ‘no’ to tennis stars’ calls for COVID-19 quarantine change
  • ‘People are free to ask for things, but the answer is no’
  • ‘They knew what they were traveling into and we are not cutting corners or making special arrangements’

SYDNEY: Australian authorities said mandatory hotel quarantine for people arriving for the Australian Open tennis tournament was essential to stop COVID-19, as the country recorded another day with no new locally acquired cases on Tuesday.
Some of the world’s top tennis players including world No. 1 Novak Djokovic have questioned the country’s enforced 14-day hotel quarantine, suggesting they should be allowed to complete the process in accommodation with tennis courts before the tournament which starts in Victoria state on Feb. 8.
But Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said he would not make changes.
“People are free to ask for things, but the answer is no,” Andrews told reporters in a televised news conference.
“They knew what they were traveling into and we are not cutting corners or making special arrangements.”
More than 70 players and their entourage are confined to their hotel rooms after passengers on three charter flights returned positive tests for the coronavirus. Victoria recorded four new cases in hotel quarantine on Tuesday, but these are not counted as community transmissions.
Andrews came under substantial pressure in 2020 after putting the country’s second-most populous state into a months-long lockdown to fight a second wave of infections of the new coronavirus.
In neighboring New South Wales state, Hollywood actor Matt Damon was granted an exemption from hotel quarantine after arriving to film a “Thor” sequel in Sydney.
Damon flew in on a private jet, will stay in a rented house under security and pay for hospital-grade cleaning for his 14-day quarantine, a doctor involved in his quarantine was quoted saying in local media.
As Australia’s hard-line border controls keep daily numbers of new coronavirus cases at zero or low single digits, tourism operators have called for additional subsidies after health authorities suggested the country would not fully reopen its borders in 2021.
If the industry did not receive an extension of federal wage subsidies that are due to end in March, “we’ll be lucky to have a tourism industry in 12 or 18 months’ time,” Tourism and Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
But Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the country would be unlikely to fully reopen its border soon, even though it hopes to start a vaccination program next month.
“There will be a process through 2021 of returning to some sort of normal,” Kelly told reporters.
“Unfortunately, international borders changes will be one of the last things to change, rather than the first.”