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Dakar 2022: Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team take podium and stage win record at 2022 Dakar Rally

Gutiérrez/Calazet give team their first ever Dakar Rally podium
Quintero/Zenz set new record for stage wins at a single Dakar (12)
Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team set the fastest T3 time on all 13 days of racing

The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team got the attention of everyone in the bivouac at the 2022 Dakar Rally. Among the team’s historical achievements during the 4,000km (2,485 mile) rally was Seth Quintero (USA) driving to 12 stage victories.

19-year-old Quintero smashed the previous record of stage wins at a single Dakar which had stood since 1994. The teenager and co-driver Dennis Zenz (GER) set the fastest time on every day at the Dakar except one. The wild ride in their OT3 by Overdrive was non-stop from starting gun to finish line.

“I already had 11 wins so I may as well try and make it 12 on the final stage. Then we got pretty lost in the first 100km and we ended up losing about five minutes. I decided then and there that this wasn’t how it was going to end. So we pinned it all the way to the finish and it looks like we’ve got our 12th win of the rally.” – Seth Quintero

Quintero/Zenz missed out on the overall rankings due to suffering time losses on Stage 2, the only stage of the rally they didn’t win. However, their haul of stage wins has given them plenty of points in the inaugural World Rally-Raid Championship.

Also racking up points for the World Rally-Raid Championship in Saudi Arabia has been Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP). The winner of last year’s Andalucia Rally and Rally Kazakhstan fought back from a number of difficult days to land her OT3 on the final podium.

Gutiérrez and co-driver François Calazet (FRA) kept cool in the desert to give the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team their first ever Top 3 finish at the Dakar. Their latest achievement comes off the back of their FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies title in 2021.

“The stages tested everything; my driving, François’s navigation and the strength of our car. We fought since the first kilometre for the best result possible and we’re so happy to get on the podium.” – Cristina Gutiérrez

Guillaume De Mevius (BEL) experienced his first ever Dakar and helped himself to stage win on Stage 2. A few days later a bent roll cage forced him and co-driver Kellon Walch (USA) to retire prematurely from the rally due to FIA safety regulations.

The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team were also represented by Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) who had stepped in for Mitch Guthrie Jr. (USA) at the last minute. The adventure ended for Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene (NOR) on Stage 3.

With an overall podium result and a stage win record in the bag, the squad will have more success in their sights as they target the inaugural World Rally-Raid Championship. The five-stop off-road series takes on some of planet’s toughest terrain and now Gutiérrez and Quintero are among the early pace setters.

The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team is a program that aims to give the most talented and ambitious young drivers a chance to test themselves at the most challenging races on the planet. The program give its young guns the stage to shine and the opportunity to develop a career path towards competing in the T1 car class.

Seth Quintero: “Today was another roller coaster. At the start of the stage I decided to go for it. I already had 11 wins so I may as well try and make it 12 on the final stage. Then we got pretty lost in the first 100km and we ended up losing about five minutes. I decided then and there that this wasn’t how it was going to end. So we pinned it all the way to the finish and it looks like we’ve got our 12th win of the rally. Obviously it’s amazing, but I’m also a little bummed out because we’re not in the overall even though we won just about every single stage. It’s been quite the ride.”

Cristina Gutiérrez: “This was a very intense rally for us. In the beginning we needed to find solutions to some mechanical issues. It was a real test of mentality to keep fighting back after some tough days in the desert. Then the level of difficulty of the stages increased after the Rest Day. The stages tested everything; my driving, François’s navigation and the strength of our car. We did our best to stay consistent because this is the best way to get results at the Dakar. We fought since the first kilometre for the best result possible and we’re so happy to get on the podium.”

LIGHTWEIGHT PROTOTYPE (T3) STAGE 12 RANKINGS
1. S. QUINTERO (USA)/D. ZENZ (GER) OT3 1:48:46
2. S. ERIKSSON (SWE)/W. ROSEGAAR (NLD) CAN-AM +1:23
3. C. GUTIERREZ (ESP)/F. CAZALET (FRA) OT3 +5:31

LIGHTWEIGHT PROTOTYPE (T3) FINAL RANKINGS
1. F. LOPEZ (CHL)/JP. LATRACH (CHL) CAN-AM 45:50:51
2. S. ERIKSSON (SWE)/W. ROSEGAAR (NLD) CAN-AM +51:28
3. C. GUTIERREZ (ESP)/F. CAZALET (FRA) OT3 +4:34:43

Source Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team
Photo: Marcelo Maragni / Red Bull Content Pool

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