WADI AD-DAWASIR, Saudi Arabia (Dispatches) - Serradori claimed a first-ever stage win for himself and his South African-built Century CR6 buggy in the 474km loop around Wadi ad-Dawasir.
Though he was only one of several drivers with similar front running pace in the early parts of the stage, Serradori was in a league of his own in the second half of the test and finished four minutes faster than Alonso’s Toyota.
The two-time Formula 1 champion nevertheless recorded his best Dakar stage finish yet, having previously been classified no higher than fourth.
The stage win has allowed Serradori to overhaul another Toyota driver Bernhard ten Brinke for seventh place in the general classification, with Serradori having surrendered the spot on Sunday after getting stuck on a dune.
Opening the road after his victory in the seventh stage - and with no bike tracks to follow given their stage was cancelled in the aftermath of the passing of veteran rider Paulo Goncalves - rally leader Carlos Sainz endured a difficult start to competition on Monday.
Over the first 150km, Sainz lost 15 minutes relative to the fastest runners, and eight relative to his nearest rival - Toyota’s reigning champion Nasser Al-Attiyah.
But having been passed by both Al-Attiyah and the fellow X-raid Mini buggy of Stephane Peterhansel, and with the threat of losing his overall lead looming large, Sainz recovered and caught up to his two main adversaries, and the trio finished in close proximity.