17:32 | Arequipa (Arequipa region), Jan. 9.
2019 Dakar Rally competitors tackled a hard stage 3 including tough dunes and complex navigation as they raced from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa.
, the second most populous city in Peru, lies at the foot of the Misti volcano and, although today's special took place somewhere else, the Dakar saw an eruption turn the various classifications on their heads.
Later on, sections of fesh-fesh put handling skills to the test in the third part of the stage, which alternated between fast stretches and the Acari dunes.
Stage 3 results:
Xavier de Soultrait
shone in a special that stymied several favorites to claim his first Dakar stage win.
The Yamaha rider took the third special of the rally with 15 seconds to spare over Pablo Quintanilla
The overall lead, however, will go to the Chilean rider this evening.
"It was a hard stage because the fog reduced visibility to under two meters. I've started the rally cautiously, as planned, and today I won the stage. It's awesome. It was the first stage with serious navigation, the real rally has begun," he said.
"Tomorrow comes the marathon stage. I'll be opening the road, it won't be easy. I want to make it to the rest day in top shape," De Soultrait continued.
The young rider rolled into Arequipa with 1'44" to spare at the end of a closely fought special, while Gustavo Gallego
is the winner of stage 3. The Mini driver put in a flawless performance and left all his rivals in the dust, except for Nasser Al-Attiyah,
who is the new leader of the race after conceding just 3'26".
Gerrard Farres took his first stage win as an SxS driver, taking over the lead halfway through the stage and beating Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez
by 2'03" at the finish.
The Chilean is the new overall leader, while Sergei Kariakin
finished third on the day.
The 2014 champion, driving for Kamaz, made the difference in the toughest part of the special and posted the fastest time at CP2, 7'20" ahead of Villagra.