The three frontrunners of the 2020 marathon benefitted from an advantageous position in the running order for the 476km Wadi ad-Dawasir – Haradh stage, following their respective low-key finishes on Monday.
But whereas Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah took full advantage, clocking in first and second at nearly every waypoint, Sainz suffered a costly five-minute loss shortly after the 100-kilometre point.
And with Al-Attiyah just 15 seconds behind stage winner Peterhansel at the finish, the Toyota driver has slashed Sainz’s lead in the marathon down to less than a half a minute.
The gap between Sainz and teammate Peterhansel, meanwhile, has been halved and now stands at 6m38s.
Behind the battle for victory, Toyota driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi and X-raid Mini’s Orlando Terranova maintain a stranglehold on fourth and fifth respectively in the general classification,
Mathieu Serradori and Fernando Alonso, who made up a surprise top two in the previous stage, both had a more difficult Tuesday.
Serradori, first on the road in his Century buggy, surrendered almost half an hour relative to Peterhansel and has fallen back from the two Toyotas of Giniel de Villiers and Bernhard ten Brinke in the fight for overall sixth place.
Alonso, meanwhile, was 13 minutes slower than Peterhansel, which was still enough for the two-time Formula 1 champion to move up to 10th place overall.
His next target is fellow Toyota driver and local hero Yasir Seaidan, but the Saudi is over 40 minutes up the road and was boosted by a strong showing on Tuesday, finishing third-fastest behind Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah.
The longest of the three remaining stages in Dakar 2020 will follow on Wednesday, with the 534km Haradh – Shubaytah test designated as the rally’s so-called ‘marathon stage’.
This entails that competitors will not be able to receive assistance from their technical crews in the Shubaytah bivouac, and will instead have to make any necessary repairs by themselves.
Standings to follow