2020 Dakar Rally powers through penultimate stage in Saudi Arabia
January 16, 2020
Haradh, Saudi Arabia
The second half of the marathon stage has reunited racers with their pit crews at the 2020 Dakar Rally. After going it alone for over 1,000 kilometres, competitors are back in the Haradh bivouac and gearing up for tomorrow’s final stage.
Sheer dominance is the only way to describe the performance of Team Kamaz Master at this first ever Middle Eastern Dakar. After winning nine of the 11 editions held in South America, the Russian truckers have exported their excellence to the Dakar’s new location in Saudi Arabia.
On Stage 11 Kamaz scored a 1-2-3-4 result, with race leader Andrey Karginov (RUS) leading home team-mates Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS), Anton Shibalov (RUS) and Eduard Nikolaev (RUS). Karginov leads the truck class by close to 40 minutes with a single stage remaining at the rally.
“We were able to stay close to our team-mates so we could help each other out if there were any problems. Thankfully we all got through the stage without any difficulty.” – Dmitry Sotnikov
Nobody could budge Ricky Brabec (USA) from the summit of the bike race on the marathon stages between Haradh and Shubaytah. It’s Paulo Quintanilla (CHI) who is closest to Brabec, but even he is 14 minutes behind. Then comes defending champion Toby Price (AUS) in third place, a further nine minutes back.
“We’re doing our best, we’re trying to keep in the fight. We’ve only got one more day to go.” – Toby Price
It was one of the quickest days at this year’s Dakar for Price’s fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Team riders, Matthias Walkner (AUT) and Luciano Benavides (ARG). Walkner finished Stage 11 just nine seconds behind stage winner Quintanilla, while Benavides set the day’s third fastest time.
“It was one of my best days. I pushed hard in the long dune sector. I love this kind of stage.” – Matthias Walkner
Top place female rider Laia Sanz (ESP) maintains her 17th place overall and remains on course to finish her 10th consecutive Dakar.
Like Brabec, Carlos Sainz (ESP) heads into the final day of racing at the 2020 Dakar with a lead of over 10 minutes to protect. After more than 4,500 kilometres of timed special stages, Sainz leads second placed Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) by 10m17s.
“It’s good to have put the marathon stage behind us. It’s always important.” – Carlos Sainz
Al-Attiyah will go all out to catch Sainz on the final stage of the Dakar, but the Qatari will also be aware that third placed Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) is just six seconds behind him. Peterhansel closed the gap on Al-Attiyah thanks to the 80th stage win of his illustrious Dakar career.
“Now we’ll battle Stéphane (Peterhansel) for second place. Making it so far is already great, there’s one stage to go and we’ll see how it goes.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah
If any of the leading car trio do slip up during tomorrow’s 374-kilometre timed special stage to Qiddiya, they will have fourth placed Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) on their tail. The 2009 Dakar winner is chasing his ninth podium finish at the Dakar. Elsewhere in the car contest, Kuba Przygonski (POL) will be looking to close out his strong second week in Saudi Arabia.
Ignacio Casale (CHI) put a tough Stage 10 to the back of his mind and kept a cool head in the quad bike contest today. The two-time quad bike champion was able to increase his lead and will start tomorrow with an advantage of over 20 minutes from his nearest competitor.
“The objective today was to protect the lead that I still have. This is what I was able to do ahead of tomorrow’s final stage.” – Ignacio Casale
Chaleco Lopez (CHI) joined his compatriot Casale in moving on from a difficult Stage 10 to win the side-by-side contest on day 11. Defending SxS champion Lopez is still on for a podium finish.
“Today was much better for us. Driving fast, correct navigation and everything good with our vehicle.” – Chaleco Lopez
After winning the opening four stages of the second week in the SxS category, it was a less smooth ride for Red Bull Off-Road Team USA on Stage 11. While running 1-2 on the stage, Dakar Experience contestants Mitch Guthrie Jr. (USA) and Blade Hildebrand (USA) both ran into difficulty during the second part of the Dakar’s marathon stage.
“It was wide open out there, lots of off-piste dunes that are really hard to read.” – Blade Hildebrand
Tomorrow’s 12th and final stage challenges all five categories to another 374 kilometres of racing before competitors can celebrate finishing the 2020 Dakar Rally. Following the special Grand Prix of Qiddiya conclusion of the stage, the Dakar convoy will all get their chance to step onto the Finish Lime Podium.
2020 Dakar Rally Car Race Top 5 (after Stage 11)
1. Carlos Sainz (ESP)/Lucas Cruz (ESP) MINI Buggy 41h37m51s
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota +10m17s
3. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) MINI Buggy +10m23s
4. Yazeed Al Rajhi (SAU)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Toyota +47m57s
5. Giniel De Villiers (ZAF)/Alex Haro (ESO) Toyota +01h06m34s
2020 Dakar Rally Bike Race Top 5 (after Stage 11)
1. Ricky Brabec (USA) Honda 38h33m28s
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna +13m56s
3. Toby Price (AUT) KTM +22m34s
4. Matthias Walkner KTM +29m53s
5. Joan Barreda (ESP) Honda +30m09s
2020 Dakar Rally Truck Top 5 (after Stage 11)
1. Andrey Karginov (RUS) Kamaz 45h04m55s
2. Anton Shibalov (RUS) Kamaz +39m33s
3. Siarhei Viazovich (BLR) Maz +01h52m14s
4. Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) Kamaz +02h49m37s
5. Martin Macik (CZE) Iveco +03h25m27s
2020 Dakar Rally Quad Race Top 3 (after Stage 11)
1. Ignacio Casale (CHI) Yamaha 50h07m07s
2. Simon Vitse (FRA) Yamaha +21m16s
3. Rafal Sonik (POL) Yamaha +01h03m00s
2020 Dakar Rally Side-by-side Race Top 3 (after Stage 11)
1. Casey Currie (USA)/Sean Berriman (USA) Can-Am 51h39m32s
2. Sergei Kariakin (RUS)/Anton Vlasiuk (RUS) Can-Am +45m33s
3. Chaleco Lopez/Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre (CHI) Can-Am +57m32s
Anton Shibalov: “Today was very sandy. The early part of the day was dunes, only the last part was very fast. For the last 60 kilometres we were going at top speed the whole way. Tomorrow we want to make sure we hold first and second position in the general classification.”
Dmitry Sotnikov: “We followed Anton Shibalov through the first part of the stage. We were in a place with lots of dunes. We were able to stay close to our team-mates so we could help each other out if there were any problems. Thankfully we all got through the stage without any difficulty.”
Carlos Sainz: “It’s good to have put the marathon stage behind us. It’s always important. Yesterday we got to work on the car and everything went well. Just one day to go. I’ll keep an eye on the gaps and stay focused for tomorrow.”
Stéphane Peterhansel: “It’s so hard to gain minutes under normal circumstances. On the other hand, navigational mistakes have led to big gaps. We fought hard, we pushed all day long and we gained some time, but not enough. Now, if Carlos (Sainz) can bring it home, it’ll be great for the team.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “We paid dearly for our mistake yesterday. Now we’ll battle Stéphane (Peterhansel) for second place. Making it so far is already great, there’s one stage to go and we’ll see how it goes.”
Giniel De Villiers: “It was very difficult in the morning in the dunes, there were some big holes and big, big drops. It was difficult to see where the dangers were. You have to brake on every crest because there’s no way of knowing what is on the other side.”
Kuba Przygonski: “The stage was not easy today. In the beginning the dunes were really, really difficult. The sand was very slippery and it was not so easy to drive. Then the stage got faster and we were able to push. I enjoyed the day.”
Toby Price: “It’s been a good stage and at the moment Honda just needs to protect their lead. The guys are riding fast and riding smart. It’s definitely making it hard for us to try and make up that gap. We’re doing our best, we’re trying to keep in the fight. We’ve only got one more day to go. We’re at the end of day eleven.”
Matthias Walkner: “It was one of my best days. I pushed hard in the long dune sector. I love this kind of stage. The end was much faster. I ran out of fuel three kilometres before the refuelling station. I had to stop for a while and get back going again, but I think I posted a good time.”
Luciano Benavides: “It was a really nice stage today. It was the first time we crossed the really big dunes. I was concerned about the amount of fuel I had so I slowed down before the refuelling. Then I caught up with some guys in front. I think I did a good job today.”
Laia Sanz: “I was doing well today. Then after the refuelling I hit a hole, it was a big impact with my front wheel. It was painful and I’m happy to have made it to the end. Hopefully the pain is not too bad tomorrow.”
Ignacio Casale: “This was an excellent stage for me. I needed to put yesterday’s stage where I lost 40 minutes out of my mind. The objective today was to protect the lead that I still have. This is what I was able to do ahead of tomorrow’s final stage.”
Chaleco Lopez: “Today was a good day. Yesterday I lost one hour making repairs. Today was much better for us. Driving fast, correct navigation and everything good with our vehicle.”
Blade Hildebrand: “It was wide open out there, lots of off-piste dunes that are really hard to read. Unfortunately my team-mate Mitch (Guthrie Jr.) had a problem so we’re hoping he can make it to the finish line. We stopped with him for a while, but that wasn’t much we could do to help.”