Dakar Rally: Al Attiyah wins 3rd stage

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah won the third stage of the Dakar Rally on Monday, edging former world rally champion and overall leader Carlos Sainz of Spain.

Al Attiyah, who also won the rally’s first stage, finished the 342-mile ride in 4 hours, 29 minutes, 27 seconds in his BMW across the Patagonian steppe from Puerto Madryn to Ingeniero Jacobacci in Argentina.

Sainz was 35 seconds behind, while his Volkswagen teammate Dieter Depping of Germany was 1 minute, 40 seconds back in third.

Sainz won the second stage and is 3 minutes, 40 seconds ahead of Al Attiyah after three legs, and 5 minutes, 45 seconds ahead of Giniel de Villiers of South Africa.

The rally is being held in South America for the first time after being canceled in 2008 because of the threat of terrorist attacks along its traditional route through Africa. A persistent drought has turned massive swaths of Argentina’s soil to dust, forcing drivers to navigate through clouds of brown dirt.

Spain’s Marc Coma won the motorbike stage in 5:18:17. Pal Anders Ullevalseter of Norway and Jordi Viladoms of Spain tied for second place, 17 minutes, 49 seconds behind Coma.

Coma also won Saturday’s stage and is more than 39 minutes ahead of France’s David Fretigne.

English driver Paul Green remains in serious condition in a local hospital after flipping his Rally Raid UK truck Saturday during the first stage.

The 30th edition of the classic rally started from Buenos Aires on Friday with 177 cars, 217 motorcycles, 81 trucks and 25 quad bikes and features drivers from 49 countries.

After 14 stages covering 5,950 miles, it will finish on Jan. 18 back in Buenos Aires.

Tuesday’s route is a 285-mile drive from Ingeniero Jacobacci to Neuquen.

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