Two-times champion Carlos Sainz took over at the top of the Dakar Rally car standings on Tuesday after winning the third stage around the Saudi Arabian desert city of Neom.
The Spaniard, driving a Mini buggy, led Toyota’s defending champion Nasser al Attiyah of Qatar by four minutes and 55 seconds after the 427km loop that extended close to the Jordanian border.
Overnight leader Orlando Terranova dropped to third, eight minutes off the pace, after the Argentine completed the stage nearly 13 minutes slower than Sainz.
Monday’s stage winner Ross Branch injured his shoulder in a crash at the 88km mark that cost the Botswana-born rider more than an hour.
“I took a bend a little too wide and there was a rock which I hit with my back wheel. It threw me off the bike and I’m feeling a little battered, but that’s just the race, I suppose,” he said.
Yamaha’s Adrien van Beveren fractured his collarbone in another crash and was taken to hospital by helicopter.
Australia’s defending champion Toby Price lost his way and finished the stage fifth.
The rally, held entirely inside Saudi Arabia, ends in Qiddiya on January 17.