Sebastien Loeb pone su sello en el Dakar 2017

El vehículo de Sebastián Loeb. (Dakar)

El vehículo de Sebastián Loeb. (Dakar)

Sebastien Loeb asaltó este martes el liderato en autos del Dakar 2017 con suma maestría al vencer en la octava etapa del rally, que regresó a suelo argentino, mientras que el inglés Sam Sunderland parece tener servido el título en motos.

El piloto francés de Peugeot ganó su tercera etapa en la presente edición, cubriendo los 417 km de especial -originalmente eran 492- con un tiempo de 4 horas, 11 minutos, 2 segundos, superando a Peterhansel por 3:35, y al también galo de la marca del león, Cyril Despres, por 5:13.

Nueve veces campeón mundial de rallies, Loeb asumió el liderato de la categoría con apenas 1:38 de ventaja sobre ‘Peter’, mientras que Despres es tercero a 17:17.

“La batalla con Stephane está de lo más reñida. Rueda rápido y no comete errores. En fuera de pista logra ganarme tiempo, en cualquier caso, es una bonita pelea”, aseguró Loeb.

‘Míster Dakar’, que defiende el título, no quiere arrojar la toalla tan temprano, y le prometió guerra total a su compatriota hasta el cierre en Buenos Aires el próximo sábado.

“¡No podemos hacer que Sebastien craquee psicológicamente! Ha ganado 9 títulos de campeón del mundo, es tanta la presión como ganar un Dakar. Es un piloto que saber gestionar el liderato, por ello, vamos a tratar de rodar lo más rápido posible hasta el final”, anotó ‘Peter’.

La victoria también le reportó a Peugeot su segunda tripleta, luego de la conquistada en la segunda etapa con Peterhansel, el español Carlos Sainz y Loeb.

Sunderland marcha tranquilo

En las motos, el español Joan Barreda (Honda) se impuso con categoría, pero necesitaría de un milagro para pelearle el liderato al inglés Sam Sunderland (KTM).

Barreda, que se había impuesto en la tercera jornada, cubrió los 417 km de especial con un tiempo de 4 horas, 28 minutos, 21 segundos, seguido por las KTM del austriaco Matthias Walkner, a 3:51, y de Sunderland, a 3:54.

“Estoy satisfecho con la etapa, ha sido agradable poder atacar. La jornada ha sido buena para mí. Mañana (el miércoles) es la etapa reina del Dakar. Habrá mucha navegación, arena y calor. Espero poder firmar una buena etapa”, señaló el español, noveno en la general a 1 hora y 10 minutos de Sunderland.

Con estos resultados, Sunderland se afirmó en el primer lugar de la especialidad, superando al chileno Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) por 20:58 y al francés Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) por 28:49.

El recorrido de la octava etapa fue modificado por el desbordamiento de un río, como consecuencia de las fuertes lluvias que afectan la frontera boliviana-argentina desde el pasado viernes.

Los trazados de las etapas del viernes -quinta- y el lunes -séptima- ya habían sido modificados por las condiciones meteorológicas, mientras que la jornada del sábado -sexta- fue anulada.

El miércoles se disputará la novena etapa del rally Dakar, la más larga de la presente edición (977 km, con 406 de especial) entre Salta y Chilecito, en las estribaciones de la cordillera de los Andes.

SALTA, ARGENTINA/Agencias

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