Neom - Spain's two-time champion Carlos Sainz, driving a Mini, shot into the overall lead of the Dakar Rally after winning Tuesday's third stage, his 33rd stage victory in the race being held this year in Saudi Arabia.
Sainz clocked 3hr 48.01sec around the loop-shaped 427km route setting out from the future megalopolis of Neom, in the north of the kingdom close to the Jordanian border.
"P1 in stage P1 overall!! Great day with @LucasCruz74 in the desert!!" Sainz tweeted, crediting his co-driver Cruz with having "nailed the navigation".
Racing over a sequence of canyons and mountains on sandy terrain, climbing to this year's summit at 1,400 metres (4,593ft) in altitude, the 57-year-old Sainz beat Qatar's defending champion Nasser al-Attiyah, in his Toyota, by 3:31.
"We finished the stage and today was a big day. We finished second," said Attiyah, who suffered one flat tyre and described navigation as "difficult".
"It was a good day and we're second in the general standings overall. Tomorrow, I hope it will be a good day because I will start behind Carlos and we can get a good time.
"We just need to finish this week and then next week we can decide to push because there are a lot of dunes."
After struggling Monday, Attiyah's teammate and ex-Formula One driver Fernando Alonso came in fifth.
Overnight leader Orlando Terranova of Argentina and second stage winner Giniel de Villiers of South Africa both trailed in behind Sainz.
Mini's Terranova not only lost the lead in the general standings but finished 12:52 behind the stage winner, while De Villiers was 16:21 off the pace in his Toyota.
"It was really tricky navigation once more, but I managed to follow them quite easily, though, for sure, Nasser and Carlos were going really fast today," the South African said.
In the motorbike category, American Honda rider Ricky Brabec dominated the stage to storm into overall lead.
Brabec finished almost 10 minutes ahead of teammate Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo, in second, with a third Honda rider, Joan Barreda Bort, rounding out the stage's podium.
Defending champion Toby Price of Australia, finished 35 minutes off the pace on his KTM.
The stage was marked by several falls, the most dramatic arguably by Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren, who lost control of his Yamaha and was pitched violently over the handlebars into the sand after just three kilometres. He received medical treatment on site, but was forced to withdraw from the rest of the race.
Wednesday's fourth stage sees the rally leave northwestern Saudi Arabia, a 453km special on a mix of sandy stretches and gravel sections, mostly on tracks, past Nabaetean temples towards the historic walled city of Al Ula.
Results of the Dakar Rally after Tuesday's stage 3 (404 kilometres) around Neom, Saudi Arabia:
1. Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (ESP/ESP/Mini) 3hr 48min 01sec, 2. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA/Toyota) at 3:31, 3. Jakub Przygonski/Timo Gttschalk (POL/GER/Mini) 4:19, 4. Yasir Seaidan/Kuzmich Alexy (KSA/RUS/Mini) 5:28, 5. Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma (ESP/ESP/Toyota) 6:14, 6. Yazeed Al Rajhi/Konstantin Zhiltsov (KSA/RUS/Toyota) 7:36, 7. Stphane Peterhansel/Paulo Fiuza (FRA/POR/Mini) 10:26, 8. Orlando Terranova/Bernardo Graue (ARG/ARG/Mini) 12:52, 9. Giniel De Villiers/Alex Haro Bravo (RSA/ESP/Toyota) 16:21, 10. Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul (NED/BEL/Toyota) 16:43
Overall standings after stage 3
1. Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (ESP/ESP/Mini) 11hr 00min 20sec, 2. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA/Toyota) at 4:55, 3. Orlando Terranova/Bernardo Graue (ARG/ARG/Mini) 8:09, 4. Yazeed Al Rajhi/Konstantin Zhiltsov (KSA/RUS/Toyota) 18:58 (penalty: 2:00), 5. Stphane Peterhansel/Paulo Fiuza (FRA/POR/Mini) 19:00, 6. Mathieu Serradori/Fabian Lurquin (FRA/BEL/Century) 20:56 (penalty: 2:00), 7. Giniel De Villiers/Alex Haro Bravo (RSA/ESP/Toyota) 23:42, 8. Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul (NED/BEL/Toyota) 33:23, 9. Martin Prokop/Viktor Chytka (CZE/CZE/Ford) 48:05, 10. Vaidotas Zala/Saulius Jurgelenas (LTU/LTU/Mini) 59:59
Selected: 32. Fernando Alonso/Marc Coman (ESP/Toyota) 2:40:24.
1. Ricky Brabec (USA/Honda) 3hr 29min 31sec, 2. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (CHI/Honda) at 5:56, 3. Kevin Benavides (ARG/Honda) 7:22, 4. Matthias Walkner (AUT/Ktm) 8:13, 5. Toby Price (AUS/Ktm) 8:35, 6. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP/Honda) 9:04, 7. Luciano Benavides (ARG/Ktm) 12:30, 8. Xavier De Soultrait (FRA/Yamaha) 13:55, 9. Skyler Howes (USA/Husqvarna) 15:43, 10. Adrien Metge (FRA/Sherco Tvs) 18:00
Overall standings after stage 3
1. Ricky Brabec (USA/Honda) 10hr 39min 04sec, 2. Kevin Benavides (ARG/Honda) at 4:43, 3. Matthias Walkner (AUT/Ktm) 6:02, 4. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP/Honda) 11:02, 5. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (CHI/Honda) 11:19 (penalty: 1:00), 6. Toby Price (AUS/Ktm) 11:58. (penalty: 2:00), 7. Luciano Benavides (ARG/Ktm) 14:20, 8. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI/Husqvarna) 15:40, 9. Sam Sunderland (GBR/Ktm) 17:10, 10. Xavier De Soultrait (FRA/Yamaha) 19:55