Przygonski ends the Dakar in sixth place overall
Halpern finishes eighth, Zala tenth
Twelve legs have been overcome, and the 2022 Dakar is done and dusted: After more than 4,000 kilometres of special stage, Jakub “Kuba” Przygonski (POL) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) finished sixth overall in the MINI JCW Buggy, making them the best-placed crew in a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Argentineans Sebastian Halpern and Bernardo “Ronnie” Graue ended the Dakar in a fine eighth place in their MINI JCW Buggy. Vaidotas Zala (LTU) and Paulo Fiuza (POR), driving a MINI JCW Rally, narrowly missed out on the top 10 with eleventh place!
Making her debut in the Car class, Laia Sanz (ESP) and her Italian co-driver Maurizio Gerini finished 22nd overall in a MINI ALL4 Racing. Denis Krotov and Konstantin Zhiltsov were 27th in another MINI JCW Buggy.
Przygonski and Gottschalk lined up in a two-wheel drive car for the first time at this year’s Dakar. The MINI JCW Buggy duo established itself in the top ten from the word go. Przygonski did climb as high as fourth place at one point, but this Dakar was better suited to the 4x4 vehicles. As such, he had to settle for sixth place after twelve legs.
Kuba Przygonski: “We are pleased to have made it to the finish again at this Dakar. That is always the first objective. This Dakar was not easy and was hard fought.”
Halpern, who was a permanent fixture in the top ten from day one, also produced an impressive performance in his MINI JCW Buggy. This was the Argentinean’s first Dakar with X-raid in a rear-wheel drive vehicle.
Sebastian Halpern: “I am very happy with this Dakar. I am pleased that we finished in the top ten. Especially when you look at the big names around us. The MINI JCW Buggy was good and the team did a great job. This Dakar was a real test: Rocks, soft dunes and difficult navigation. Ronnie did a very good job. I am happy.”
After eleven Dakar appearances on a motorcycle, Sanz switched to the Car class this year. Together with her co-driver Gerini, she faced the new challenge in the MINI ALL4 Racing. A few issues aside, she performed consistently and improved dramatically as the Dakar progressed. She had previously managed to complete every Dakar on a motorcycle, and continued this run in the Car class.
Laia Sanz: “That was a completely new experience for me. Taking on the Dakar on a bike is much more dangerous. It is also fun in a car, and you get to share your emotions with somebody else. Up until now, I have been used to being alone. However, that also means that you have to trust your co-driver with the Navigation. My primary objective was to finish this Dakar too. I am happy with my result, but am also very competitive and would obviously have liked to have been faster. However, I learned a lot and will go on the offensive again next year.”
Krotov arrived in Saudi Arabia with high expectations after his third place in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. The first few days went well for the MINI JCW Buggy driver. However, shortly after the start of leg six, he suffered a technical issue and not only lost a lot of time but also his position in the top 20. On the remaining days, he showed what might have been possible without that incident.
Denis Krotov: “To be honest, this Dakar did not play out as we had imagined. We had a good car, but a technical issue completely knocked us out of the battle at the front of the field. On the individual stages, we showed what we are capable of.”
Overall standings after SS12
1. N. Al-Attiyah / M. Baumel – Toyota – 38h 33m 03s
2. S. Loeb / F. Lurquin – BRX – 39h 00m 49s
3. Y. Al-Rajhi / M. Orr – Toyota – 39h 34m 16s
4. O. Terranova / D. Oliveras – BRX – 40h 00m 26s
5. G. De Villiers / D. Murphy – Toyota – 40h 14m 51s
6. J. Przygonski / T. Gottschalk – MINI JCW Buggy – 40h 26m 09s
8. S. Halpern / B. Graue – MINI JCW Buggy – 41h 11m 29s
11. V. Zala / P. Fiuza – MINI JCW Rally – 42h 04m 58s
22. L. Sanz / M. Gerini – MINI ALL4 Racing – 44h 51m 59s
27. D. Krotov / K. Zhiltsov – MINI JCW Buggy – 46h 42m 09s
Oliver Hoffmann, Board Member for Technical Development: “Pioneering role fulfilled”
Julius Seebach: “Historic result for Audi”
Four stage wins and a total of 14 podium results on the stages
The most complex race car in Audi’s history to date passed its baptism of fire at the Dakar Rally with flying colors. All three Audi RS Q e-tron cars mastered the world’s toughest off-road rally on their debut in Saudi Arabia. In total, they covered around 24,000 desert kilometers – almost three times the 8,700 test kilometers that Audi had previously completed. Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist finished ninth in Jeddah as the best Audi driver team in a demanding edition of the desert classic. With the arrival of electric mobility, Audi has ushered in a new era in off-road rallying.
“Audi has lived up to its pioneering role in the Dakar Rally right from the start,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Audi Board Member for Technical Development. “The alternative drive concept of the Audi RS Q e-tron has met all expectations with its electric drivetrain, high-voltage battery and highly efficient energy converter. For more than four decades, our brand has repeatedly impressed with its innovations in motorsport – including in the world’s toughest rally.” Audi developed the RS Q e-tron to operational readiness in just over a year. Thanks to the highly efficient electric powertrain, the three race cars compete in the new T1 Ultimate class for low-emission vehicles. Audi’s prototypes have made history as the first representatives of this new class and achieved stage wins.
Stéphane Peterhansel, the record winner with 14 Dakar victories, summed up the enthusiasm the drive inspires: “I’ve driven many concepts in the desert but the Audi RS Q e-tron is simply sensational in the dunes. The electric drive with its good torque perfectly suits my driving style.” The Frenchman, who competed with his compatriot Edouard Boulanger, won the tenth stage with the Audi RS Q e-tron. This means he has already decided 82 Dakar stages in his favor in his career. However, early damage left last year’s winners no chance of a good overall position this time: The accomplished driver hit a stone on the second stage that destroyed the rim and caused consequential damage to the suspension. After the repair, he received a time penalty for exceeding the maximum stage time, which dropped Peterhansel to the back of the field. From this point on, the driver crew consistently put themselves at the service of the team and helped their teammates.
Carlos Sainz benefited directly from this, for example during the repeated shock absorber changes on stages four to six. The Spaniard, navigated by his compatriot Lucas Cruz, already made history on the third stage. Sainz clinched the Audi RS Q e-tron’s first stage victory on the demanding route from Al Artawiya to Al Qaisumah. Eight days later he managed his second stage victory. “Especially in the second half, the tracks were typical Dakar, namely very varied and demanding with a mixture of off-road tracks, small and large dunes and difficult orientation,” said Sainz. “With our engineers, we improved the set-up of the car more and more over the course of the rally. A big thank you to everyone for that.” The successful Spaniard, a two-time World Rally Champion and with three Dakar victories under his belt, was left without a chance in the overall standings this time despite the good individual results. As early as on the second day an inaccurate roadbook led to many navigation errors throughout the field. Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz therefore lost 2:22 hours and in the end finished in twelfth position.
In the same place, Mattias Ekström and co-driver Emil Bergkvist also lost 1:45 hours in their search for the right track. The two Swedes, who were only competing for the second time and in the car category for the first time, were pleased to have made great learning progress. “My teammates gave me lots of tips,” said Ekström, a two-time DTM champion and World Rallycross Champion. “I have found a better and better rhythm. The dunes remain my big challenge. Stéphane and Carlos have many years of experience advantage there. I always stayed on the safe side and didn’t attack too hard.” The fact that the team with the least desert experience of all achieved the best result was a nice reward for their hard work. Day after day, the Scandinavians improved from 23rd to ninth position. With their stage 8 win and two other top three results, they proved their steady progress in a discipline where experience counts more than in other types of motorsport.
Team Audi Sport realized the preparation and successful operation in cooperation with Q-Motorsport. Sven Quandt’s squad has a Dakar experience of several decades. “I am grateful to Audi for allowing us to realize this ambitious project and to have achieved these results together right from the start,” said Sven Quandt, Managing Director and Team Principal Q-Motorsport.
“Our driver teams won four stages and clinched a total of 14 podium results in the daily classifications. This clearly exceeds our expectations for the first Dakar participation,” says Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for motorsport at Audi. “A big thank you for this and respect to the team on site, but also at home in Germany. Thanks also to Sven Quandt and his team for their valuable support. The historic victory of Carlos Sainz with the Audi RS Q e-tron as early as on the third day is the reward for this hard work and underscores the concept’s ability to win. Audi is thus the first team to achieve a stage victory with an electric drive concept. This is the result of an excellent team performance. After this performance already in the first year, overall victory at the next Dakar is clearly our goal. Back in Germany, we’ll take stock, further optimize our Audi RS Q e-tron and field it in several races.”
Source Audi Motorsport
Ten Brinke, Alvarez, Yacopini and Chabot finish 17th, 18th, 20th and 22nd
Gutièrrez claims third in T3 category; record 12 T3 stage wins for Quintero
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah led the 44th Dakar Rally from the opening Qualifying Stage to the final special and managed his pace to perfection to seal a fourth victory on the world’s most famous off-road rally.
Benefiting from the meticulous navigational skills of his French co-driver Mathieu Baumel, the Qatari won just three of the 13 stages but applied a master class race strategy to eventually record a winning margin of 27min 46sec over nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb. The fourth success for Al-Attiyah meant that he equalled Ari Vatanen winning quartet set in Africa.
Al-Attiyah said: “It was an incredible Dakar for us. We hadn’t won since 2019. We’re pleased with the new T1+ regulations. Mathieu and I and the team did a great job to win. We had finished second every time since we came to Saudi Arabia two years ago and now we are really happy to achieve our goal. The whole race went without a hitch. We were on high alert, but now we know that we have an amazing car and we will do our best for the World Championship.
We opened up a gap on the first day and have since managed our lead. We’re fortunate to get to race the Dakar in Saudi Arabia and I would like to thank the government for this opportunity to discover such breath-taking landscapes.”
Overdrive Racing team-mate Yazeed Al-Rajhi and his co-driver Michael Orr held second overall at the rest day, before slipping behind Loeb after the resumption of competition. The Saudi recorded a well-deserved podium finish on his home event to give Toyota a 1-3 finish.
Al-Rajhi said: “I’m really happy and would like to thank everyone who supports me, the mechanics and Jean-Marc Fortin, as well as the organisers. I’m on the podium, but what really matters is that the whole field got to enjoy the race in Saudi Arabia. I’m also pleased for all the spectators who watched us and, of course, I am happy with our podium spot.”
Al-Attiyah’s Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Giniel de Villiers overcame his own fair share of dramas and a time penalty to win a stage. He and co-driver Dennis Murphy reached Jeddah in fifth place.
Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke stood in for Erik van Loon at the 11th hour and teamed up with French co-driver Sebastien Delaunay. He recovered well from early time delays and began a gradual fight back through the field, setting a sixth fastest time in SS7 and a fourth quickest run on the final stage. Ten Brinke reached Jeddah in 17th.
Argentina’s Lucio Alvarez and his Spanish navigator Armand Monleón held a top five position for long periods of the Dakar and even set a second quickest time. But punctures and a differential failure cost the Argentine dearly and he slipped out of contention for the top 10. Excellent performances on the run in to Jeddah earned the Toyota Hilux driver 18th place.
Alvarez said: “We are satisfied to have finished the race but sad because we could have been third in the general classification. It’s hard to assume because we were doing everything right. We knew we could fight for the podium, but the mechanical factor asnd the luck factor we cannot control. Now, when I get home, I have a few days to think about how to prepare for the World Championship and the next Dakar!”
Juan Cruz Yacopini and Alejandro Yacopini reached the end of the Dakar in 20th in their Overdrive Racing Toyota, the French duo of Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot were classified in 22nd and Portugal’s Miguel Barbosa and Pedro Velosa completed the rally in 35th.
The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team entered four Overdrive-built OT3s. Young American racer Seth Quintero teamed up with Germany’s Dennis Zenz and entered the Dakar record books for winning 12 of the event’s 13 stages. Only a delay with technical issues early in the rally prevented the 19-year-old from winning the FIA T3 category. He was classified in 16th.
After surpassing Hubert Auriol’s nine successes earned on a motorcycle in 1984, he went on to shatter Pierre Lartigue’s record of 10 stage victories from 1994.
“It’s definitely a rewarding feeling,” said Quintero. “We did 13 stages with 12 wins. Every day was an adventure in itself and I was trying to take it day-by-day. Dennis did an amazing job. Stage two definitely crosses my mind quite a bit. If we’d had 30 less kilometres on that stage it would have been pretty good. You never know. In some ways it took a lot of pressure off us and I had a lot of fun for all the Dakar! We are now the sole record holder for the most stage wins on a single Dakar, which is absolutely mind-blowing. I came here to try sand become the youngest ever to win a Dakar but, in the end, we’ve broken another record.”
Spanish female racer Cristina Gutièrrez and French co-driver François Cazalet eventually finished third in the FIA T3 category behind Chile’s Francisco Lopez and Sweden’s Sebastian Eriksson.
Guillaume de Mevius teamed up with America’s Kellon Walch but endured a troubled Dakar. Hefty time penalties knocked the Belgian down the rankings after week one transmission issues and he retired two days before the finish.
Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen was a last-minute replacement for Mitch Guthrie, but he was forced to retire before the rest day with roll cage damage.
As it happened
The first stage out of Riyadh after the rest day ran for 401.74km to Al Dawadimi and featured around 100km of sand dunes. Loeb trimmed Al-Attiyah’s overall advantage to 44min 59sec with the stage win and that pushed Al-Rajhi down to third. Delays of just under an hour for De Villiers enabled Alvarez to regain fourth position, with the South African dropping to ninth.
A seventh stage win fell to Quintero in T3 and Gutierrez retained third overall and reduced the gap to leader Lopez to 2hr 12min 40sec.
The subsequent stage of 394.90km wound its way through the southern deserts to the remote bivouac at Wadi ad Dawasir. Al-Attiyah sustained a puncture and lapsed into front-wheel drive, and the nervous Qatari duly shadowed his rivals to the finish with a noise coming from the transmission. Loeb was able to trim the Qatari’s lead to 37min 58sec, as Al-Rajhi consolidated third.
Al-Attiyah said: “For 350km we had one puncture and only had front-wheel drive because we broke the rear. I was really scared all the way. It was not easy to push with front-wheel drive. There was a small part broken inside with a lot of noise. I’m lucky to be here and we only lost seven minutes to Seb.”
A differential issue after 42km cost Alvarez four hours, his place in the top five and pushed the Argentine down to 22nd overall. He said: “We were going very fast in sixth and we heard a noise and the differential had broken. We had no choice but to wait for the service crew to change it.”
Stage nine was a 286.96km loop through the deserts around Wadi ad Dawasir. It was damage limitation for Al-Attiyah after his transmission scare the previous day and the Qatari cruised to the finish with the third quickest time behind Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mates De Villiers and Lategan. The runaway leader also beat Loeb by 67 seconds and increased his advantage to 39min 05sec. There were small gaps within the top 15 drivers on the special and Al-Rajhi maintained third place, although Al-Attiyah later incurred a five-minute time penalty for an eighth stage seat belt violation that saw his lead trimmed to 34min 05sec.
Quintero equalled Hubert Auriol’s nine stage wins on a special when Gutierrez finished second and strengthened her grasp on fourth place after the previous day’s delays.
A largely sandy special of 374.58km took crews from Wadi ad Dawasir to Bisha, a small town in the south-western Saudi province of ‘Asir.
Al-Attiyah drove cautiously and managed his pace to drop just 1min 25sec to Loeb, as Quintero eclipsed Hubert Auriol’s nine wins and equalled Pierre Lartigue’s 1994 Dakar record of 10 stage wins on a single Dakar. Alvarez and Al-Rajhi were eighth and 10th on the day and held third and 20th overall, with Yacopini and Ten Brinke now up to 18th and 19th.
The last of the longer stages was a loop of 345.64km around the Bisha bivouac. Sainz clinched his second stage win, but all eyes were on the battle between Loeb and Al-Attiyah. The Frenchman managed to claw back another 4min 21sec but headed into the final sprint to Jeddah trailing the Qatari by 33min 19sec after he was later handed a five-minute time penalty for an on-stage speeding violation. A rejuvenated Alvarez finished the special in second place, despite a minor transmission issue.
Al-Attiyah erred on the side of caution through the final 164km to secure victory, with Al-Rajhi rounding off the podium places behind Loeb and Quintero securing a remarkable 12th T3 stage win.
2022 Dakar Rally – final positions:
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Gazoo Racing GR DKR Hilux 38hr 33min 03sec
2. Sébastien Loeb (FRA)/Fabian Lurquin (BEL) Prodrive Hunter BRX 39hr 00min 49sec
3. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Michael Orr (GBR) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 39hr 34min 16sec
4. Orlando Terranova (ARG)/Daniel Oliveras (ESP) Prodrive Hunter BRX 40hr 00min 26sec
5. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF)/Dennis Murphy (ZAF) Toyota Gazoo Racing GR DKR Hilux 40hr 14min 51sec
6. Jakub Przygonski (POL)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Mini John Cooper Works Buggy 40hr 26min 09sec
7. Mathieu Serradori (FRA)/Loic Minaudier (FRA) Century CR6 Buggy 41hr 05min 08sec
8. Sebastien Halpern (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) Mini John Cooper Works Buggy 41hr 11min 29sec
9. Mattias Ekström (SWE)/Emil Bergkvist (SWE) Audi RS Q e-tron 41hr 15min 14sec
10. Vladimir Vasilyev (RAF)/Oleg Uperenko (LVA) BMW X5 41hr 35min 24sec
17. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NLD)/Sébastien Delaunay (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 43hr 18min 43sec
18. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Armand Monleón (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 43hr 29min 39sec
20. Juan Cruz Yacopini (ARG)/Alejandro Yacopini (ARG) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 43hr 56min 18sec
22. Ronan Chabot (FRA)/Gilles Pillot (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 44hr 21min 49sec
35. Miguel Barbosa (PRT)/Pedro Velosa (PRT) Toyotas Hilux Overdrive 52hr 01min 19sec
Source Overdrive Racing
Sam returns to the top of the provisional Dakar leaderboard
Outstanding performance on penultimate stage from Sunderland
One day and just 163 kilometers of racing to go!
We said stage 11 would be a pivotal day of racing at the Dakar and, oh boy, it sure was! After losing a little time yesterday, the pressure was well and truly on Sam today, who in no uncertain terms needed to deliver a flawless ride to keep his chances of a second Dakar win alive. And that’s exactly what he did. Putting together a standout performance, Sam navigated perfectly, attacked from the start, and finished second on the stage, just four seconds behind the eventual winner. Now, with just one day of racing to go, the GASGAS Factory Racing ace sits at the top of the leaderboard with a near seven-minute advantage over his nearest rival.
Sam Sunderland: “Today was a really tough one. We were expecting it to be difficult and even four kilometers in there were lines everywhere in the sand. From there on I had to focus on myself and stay on top of my roadbook, it wasn’t really an option to follow the lines ahead. Through the dunes I was able to make up some time, which was good and I just missed out on another stage win. Up until now the race has gone really well, the whole team behind me has been fantastic but the race isn’t over until it’s over. All I can do is hope for a clean run through tomorrow’s stage and then we’ll see where we end up.”
In rally racing, starting any stage a handful of riders behind the first rider generally proves to be an advantage, but with the navigation incredibly tricky on today’s penultimate stage of the rally, it was every man for himself out there in the desert. Opting to focus solely on his roadbook throughout the challenging 345-kilometer special, Sam was in superb form, narrowly missing out on the stage win but more importantly, now leads the rally heading into the final, decisive day of racing. It’s go time!
Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2022, stage 11
1. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 3:30:56
2. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 3:31:00
3. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 3:33:22
Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 11)
1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 37:04:05
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 37:10:57
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 37:11:20
Source GasGas Factory Racing Team
After a highly positive day at the Dakar Rally yesterday for the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, stage 11 has proved to be a seriously tough test of both patience and stamina. Entering the penultimate day of the event as the provisional overall leader, Adrien Van Beveren suffered a frustrating navigational issue early on, which cost the Frenchman considerable time. Recovering the best he could to eventually place 15th, he now lies fourth overall. Andrew Short delivered another strong ride to complete the stage as the eighth fastest rider and now forms part of a three-rider battle for sixth in the provisional classification. The American sits eighth overall with one stage to go.
Along with many riders who struggled to validate a waypoint early on stage 11, Adrien Van Beveren lost close to 10 minutes to the overall rally leaders just four kilometres into the timed special. But without losing his focus, the Frenchman soon returned to the main racing line and began to reel in the leading riders. Continuing his charge, the Yamaha WR450F Rally racer then opened the final 60 kilometres of the special, navigating with precision and completing the stage in 15th. The penultimate day of the Dakar Rally 2022 was a frustrating day for Van Beveren, who is now fourth in the overall provisional classification.
Posting his eighth top-10 stage result at the 2022 Dakar Rally, Andrew Short would complete the physically demanding stage 11 in eighth place. Should the American ride with the same form tomorrow that he’s demonstrated throughout week two, a sixth-place overall finish is a strong possibility for Andrew.
Delivering a strong 10th place finish in the Light Prototype class on stage 11, Camelia Liparoti advances to an impressive sixth place overall in the provisional classification – her highest ranking in this year’s Dakar. With just one, relatively short stage to go, the YXZ1000R Prototype driver aims to post another strong result tomorrow to secure her place in the final standings.
Adrien Van Beveren – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team - 15th Stage 11 It was a hard one today. Just four kilometres in I struggled to validate a waypoint and it easily cost me 10 minutes. It was a frustrating start to the stage but then I really pushed hard, harder than at any time in the rally so far. I caught the leading group of riders with around 60 kilometres to go and then just kept pushing hard. The gap to the lead is big now, but I will fight to the end.
Andrew Short - Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team - 8th Stage 11 It was a really tough day, by far the toughest in terms of riding and the physical side of things. Plus, the navigation was pretty hard early on and after four kilometres there was a lot of riders stopped to figure things out. But after that I did a pretty good job of opening and minimising the damage. I rode with Adrien a lot today, which was pretty cool and now we’re really close to the finish. Getting across the finish line was the goal from the start and we’re close now, so it’s exciting that we’re almost there.
Source Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
Published on Rally-Raid Network via Dailymotion
Car stage winner: CARLOS SAINZ / LUCAS CRUZ (TEAM AUDI SPORT)
Bike stage winner: KEVIN BENAVIDES (RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING)
Quad stage winner: MARCELO MEDEIROS (TEAM MARCELO MEDEIROS)
SSV stage winner: MAREK GOCZAL / LUKASZ LASKAWIEC (COBANT-ENERGYLANDIA RALLY TEAM)
LWV stage winner: SETH QUINTERO / DENNIS ZENZ (RED BULL OFF-ROAD JUNIOR TEAM USA)
Truck stage winner: EDUARD NIKOLAEV / EVGENII IAKOVLEV / VLADIMIR RYBAKOV (KAMAZ - MASTER )
"This is the maximum achievable resuslt for us at the moment"
Dakar 2022: A recital by Sunderland and Al-Attiyah
The penultimate special on the Dakar won praise from Carlos Sainz who enjoyed his second stage victory on this edition: “camel grass, dunes, navigation, riverbeds and stones… it was a really complete stage and quite difficult to open on”.
The loop out from Bisha and back heading due north to enter the Province of Mecca before turning round and returning to Asir, in the southwest tip of the kingdom. With a total of length of 501 kilometres, 346 km were raced against the clock, with 42% made up of sand and a third by dunes, some of which were very soft, presenting the pretenders to the crown tomorrow with the possibility of making the difference before the final effort. “The toughest stage of the Dakar,” was how it was summed at the finishing line by Pablo Quintanilla, who took advantage of it to climb into second place in the general rankings behind Sam Sunderland.
He had felt the trap closing in on him. Having perfectly analysed the situation in which he found himself yesterday, Adrien Van Beveren was duty bound to perform well to avoid his direct rivals and the rest of the pack swooping down on him. Instead, a handful of minutes spent hesitating in the search for a waypoint, after only 4 kilometres of the special, made the challenge unmanageable. The strategists who took care in calculating where to finish yesterday in order to start in a favourable position this morning were able to go full gas today. The most consistent among them this year, namely Sam Sunderland, reaped the biggest benefits and was able to regain his place at the race’s summit, whilst Pablo Quintanilla, who is also a smart tactician, climbed into second place, 6’52’’ behind the leader who can now home in on victory with a little more serenity. Matthias Walkner also leap-frogged Van Beveren, who will have to grudgingly console himself with a fourth-place finish that awaits him tomorrow because the podium is not a realistic proposition since he trails the Austrian rider by 8’15’’. In the midst of this fight for overall victory, for the record, Kevin Benavides picked up the 6th success of his career on the Dakar, a little like Carlos Sainz who lost his hopes of a podium finish much earlier in the rally.
The Spaniard’s victory, his 41st on the Dakar, did not elicit much of a response in the mind of Nasser Al-Attiyah, who boasts 44 of them and is much more preoccupied with the lead he possesses over Sébastien Loeb. After further efforts by the Frenchman to attempt to reduce his time deficit, at the finishing line he had only clawed back five minutes, which were then made obsolete by a penalty for speeding. A golden opportunity now presents itself to Al-Attiyah on the stage to Jeddah, which he will start with a cushion of 33’19’’. Paradoxically, quad rider Alexandre Giroud seems more stressed out than the Qatari in light of the forthcoming 169-km special, for which he has a lead of 2 hours and 41 minutes over Kamil Wiśniewski.
In the T3 category, Quintero’s extravaganza continued with an 11th stage win out of 12 specials, whilst “Chaleco” López nonchalantly continues his route towards the title. The road captain of the South Racing team will hit the road tomorrow with a lead of 55 minutes over his team-mate Sebastian Eriksson. Austin Jones will be scared stiff after having lost his place of general standings leader to Gerrard Farrés (see Performance of the day) over whom he will have to gain 1’41’’ in order to triumph.
In the truck race, the leader is still the Kamaz team’s Dmitry Sotnikov, with an advantage of 8’18’’ over his team-mate Eduard Nikolaev.
Performance of the day
Discretion sometimes has its virtues, including on a Dakar bivouac where there is a tendency for showing off one’s might. Gerard Farrés is the type of competitor who prefers quiet progress, but progression all the same. Indeed, during his career as a biker, for a long time the Spaniard contented himself with playing second fiddle, as a water carrier for Marc Coma in Africa and then for “Chaleco” in South America. And yet, he craftily climbed onto the final podium on his 10th participation with 3rd place in 2017, pinched for a handful of seconds from Adrien Van Beveren. Since his switch to four wheels two years ago, he has only obtained places of honour in the SSV category and has not really dazzled on the 2022 edition of the rally.
However, Farrés’ method is astounding! The Catalan driver has only won one special, on stage 7, leaving the spotlight to the Goczał brothers in particular and waiting in ambush behind Austin Jones, the major favourite in the category. Today, he took advantage of the mishaps encountered by the American, who was delayed by a broken differential, to pounce and take the lead in the general rankings. With a cushion of only 1’41’’ to protect his hopes for the title, nobody knows whether this dramatic change in events will last until the finishing line. Austin Jones is resourceful, but then again, so is Farrés…
There is nothing more frustrating than coming unstuck with the finishing line in sight. This is exactly what happened to Martin Michek today. As if that was not enough, it is the second time he has had to swallow this bitter pill. The Czech participated in his first Dakar just two years ago, but he had to throw in the towel in almost the same manner as today due to a mechanical problem on the penultimate stage.
Struck by a rare liver disease that should have required a transplant according to doctors, Michek miraculously recovered and climbed back onto his bike less than two months afterwards, with the goal of returning to the rally last year for his second participation. After a 10th place finish, he continued to improve and went on to win the FIM bajas world cup.
As a result, the KTM rider arrived at the rally this year with the firm intention of doing better than the previous attempts. Following three top ten finishes, Michek approached the day’s stage in 18th position in the general rankings, almost 2 hours behind the leader, with the status of fifth best privateer. Even though the mission to improve upon last year’s display seemed compromised, the RallyGP rider had not given up.
However, when he broke his front wheel after the second time check point, this threw a huge spanner in the works… He was able to repair his machine and resume the stage, but the outcome was disastrous: he lost more than 4 hours and 30 minutes and slid down to 37th place in the general rankings. It is a crushing blow for the leading light of the new Czech school of riders, but it is odds on that he has not had his last word on the matter. He has not lost sight of his goal of one day becoming a factory team rally rider.
Photo: ASO/Charly Lopez
There is the first time for everything. Ignacio Casale and his crew got their first taste of being stage leaders. However, everything nice must end at some point, and that is exactly what happened. But considering the circumstances, 13th place is quite a success. Meanwhile, when this press release was being written, Josef Macháček was still stuck in the desert.
The penultimate stage of the event was a loop around Bisha (500 km / 345 km) and it was expected to be a game-changer for this year’s Dakar Rally. More than half of the stage went through dunes of varying sizes, shapes, and difficulty.
The unknown fate of a champion
Josef Macháček, who is a reigning champion until tomorrow, started the stage from 7th place. However, by the time this press release was issued, he still did not make it to the finish line. “All I can say is that many light prototypes had ended their journey in this stage. Macháček got into trouble and we’re trying to solve them. We will keep you posted,” said the team principal Martin Koloc.
That is what Dakar is about
At the finish line, Ignacio Casale could definitely say that while it could have gone even better, a good ending means that everything is good. “We were doing great. I wasn’t so surprised when I saw after the first third of the stage that we’re leading. But then we got stuck in dunes,” said the Chilean driver, who got helped by Martin Macík. “This is what Dakar is about, thank you, Martin,” added Ignacio a message to his competitor. But the technical troubles did not end there. “We had two punctures, one even after the finish. And we also had a broken steering linkage. We really enjoyed ourselves today. The organisers had promised us a challenge, and they were right.
“The most difficult stage so far, we really had it all. In the beginning, there was a navigational mess, which we had handled perfectly and after 170 kilometres, we were in 2nd place. Then in the dunes, Nikolaev and Sotnikov got ahead of us, and after another 20 kilometres, we got stuck. When I was doing my second shovel, Martin Macík was just passing by, using the horn. I took out our rope and he helped us. So, a big thanks to Martin and his crew. Just like Ignacio says, that’s what Dakar is about. Then we had an issue with the steering. The guys had helped, and we fixed it within 30 minutes. However, that was not the end, as around 20 kilometres before the end, our front tyre exploded. An interesting fact is that I was inflating the left one for 200 kilometres already at that point, and that one luckily survived until the finish line,” continued Tomáš Šikola.
Today's stage was another round, this time around Bisha, over 346 kilometres, with dunes and soft sand. For the eleventh stage, Pascal de Baar and his crew consisting of Jan van der Vaet and Stefan Slootjes were urged to take it easy and not to push this stage. But Pascal soon came back from that: “That's nicely said but taking it easy on a dune just isn't possible.
You must “grab that one in the mouth,” according to de Baar. “We took the first dunes carefully with the risk of getting stuck, but when we almost fell over, I thought it was time for a different course. You must surprise the masses so after the first series of dunes we sat down and just kept going. So, we went back to normal with the result that we were approaching the top ten again.”
Pascal continues: “It was an exceptionally beautiful day, perhaps one of the most beautiful so far, but with dangerous parts with many sharp stones. There too it was all or nothing with the result that we were able to overtake Mitchel van den Brink, who had started a minute ahead of us. That gave a positive boost to the corridor that we had started. However, he passed us later, but it was a nice fair fight that we had with each other. Looking back on the day we are satisfied with the result, and we have the 11th time. Especially when four teams compete for a top ten finish for the day within 4 minutes. We are now in 13th place in the general classification and that is just beautiful. Tomorrow we have a short stage of 165 kilometres ahead of us and then we can head for Jeddah.”
For more information: see https://riwalddakar.com/
Source Riwald Dakar Team.
JROD ACHIEVES A 3RD PLACE FINISH IN STAGE 11
Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport team of the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters - Hero MotoCorp, added another podium finish to their tally in this edition of the Dakar Rally.
Presented to the riders as the biggest technical challenge of the season, Stage 11 was a “true Dakar stage” in the words of Joaquim Rodrigues. The penultimate stage was a key battle for all competitors as it was one of their final runs to improve their rankings.
Joaquim aced the stage and finished in the third position, adding to his stage win in Stage 3.
After an emotionally challenging Stage 10, JRod bounced back with extreme focus in Stage 11 and earned a fantastic result for himself and the team. With the latest podium, he moves up another position to the 13th place in the overall RallyGP class standings.
Aaron Maré however had a difficult stage especially early on in the stage. A small navigation error cost him some time, and a landing mistake caused a slight sprain on his back and on his ankle. Yet, his otherwise consistent performance throughout the rally helped him maintain the 15th position in the overall rankings in the RallyGP class.
Stage 11 which featured some of the most difficult navigational challenges so far, was a 500 km long loop around Bisha, with a timed special of 345 km. The stage which started with sandy tracks inside wadis and winding canyons quickly made navigation difficult due to the innumerable tracks and crossings within plateaus. Soft dunes, dunettes, and invisible tracks followed, ending with fast sandy tracks.
Coming up next is the last and final challenge from Dakar 2022 - a 679 kms ride from Bisha to Jeddah, with a special section of only 163 kms. The last stage of the rally will end with the star studded final podium ceremony at the new Formula 1 circuit on Jeddah corniche.
Joaquim Rodrigues, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: “It was definitely a much better day for me, after yesterday’s tough ordeal. Luckily I was able to recover, put a strong effort, and give my entire focus to this stage. The bike performed extremely well and helped me gain this podium. The dunes and even the dunettes were really soft, in addition to the tough navigation, making it a very difficult “true Dakar stage”. I’m very happy with the third place, and the team definitely deserves this good result. Looking forward to tomorrow, the final day!”
Aaron Maré, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: “The stage today started very rough for me. 4-5 kms into the race a handful of riders including myself ended up losing time trying to find a waypoint in the dust. Navigation was tough in the dust, so I rode at a slower pace to avoid mistakes until I reached the dunes, after which I could push. On the dunes, I made a small mistake at one of the drop-offs, and a flat-landing tweaked my back and ankle a bit. From there I rode slower, and am happy that I could get back safe with the bike. I look forward to the last day of the race.”
Source Hero Motosports Team Rally
The Prodrive driver finished fourth on the eleventh stage of the Dakar.
On the Dakar, a good day is often followed by a bad one, and vice versa. This is the case for Nani Roma, who yesterday did not have a good day and today, on the eleventh stage, everything went smoothly.
"For me, it was the most beautiful stage of the whole race. It was a really interesting route, with dunes, with navigation, with what we like and what suits us," said the Prodrive driver.
These circumstances were also reflected in the result. The Catalan was fourth at the finish, just over four minutes behind the winner, the Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Audi).
"We tried to set the right pace and we kept it until the end. We are happy with the day and satisfied to be able to continue learning things from the Hunter", added Nani.
Tomorrow the last day awaits all the survivors of the race. "That's right, one more Dakar that has gone by in a flash. So many months of intense work, of real madness... and in a moment it's all over," Roma concludes.
Source Nani Roma official press release
Automatic translation from the Spanish version available on www.todoterreno.pt
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