Defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah further extended his overall lead in the 45th Dakar Rally with his second-stage victory.

Defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah further extended his overall lead in the 45th Dakar Rally with his second-stage victory. The Qatari Toyota driver won the fifth stage after 373 kilometres around Ha’il by 1:57 minutes ahead of the Spanish veteran Carlos Sainz (Audi), and record winner Stephane Peterhansel (France) followed in third place in the second Audi.

Al-Attiyah is now 22:36 minutes ahead of Peterhansel in the overall standings. The Frenchman took over second place from Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Saudi Arabia) and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz (Eutin), who are now third overall after finishing fourth in the day’s results. The Toyota duo is 27:01 minutes behind their brand colleague Al-Attiyah.

On Thursday’s stage, Audi’s hybrid cars competed for the first time with the extra power of 8 kW released by the organisers. An angry Al-Attiyah had called the decision “not fair” on Wednesday evening.