Desert racing reaches boiling point on Stage 10 of the 2022 Dakar Rally

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Desert racing reaches boiling point on Stage 10 of the 2022 Dakar Rally

January 12, 2022

Bisha, Saudi Arabia

Soaring temperatures on Stage 10 of the 2022 Dakar Rally saw the race come to its boiling point as it nears the final straight. With the kilometres running out there’s a sense of ‘now or never’ as race leaders look to defend their gains on the last two days.

Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) grabbed his first stage win of the rally to make it a stage win each for all three Audi Sport drivers at the team’s Dakar debut. Monsieur Dakar has placed his Audi RS Q e-tron in the Top 10 on each stage since the Rest Day as a positive second week continues for the winner of 82 Dakar specials.

“We haven’t had any big mechanicals since the start of the second week, so we’re making good progress and having fun driving the car. I’m not necessarily a stage hunter, but each Audi driver has now won a stage, and that’s fantastic.” – Stéphane Peterhansel

Peterhansel was followed home on the stage by Audi team-mate Carlos Sainz (ESP) who finished as the day’s runner-up. Mattias Ekström (SWE), driver of the third Audi RS Q e-tron, finished 10 minutes back from Peterhansel on the stage.

“We had a tough job finding the first waypoint, but after that it was a super enjoyable stage. Very nice to drive and no mistakes apart from a little one at the beginning.” – Mattias Ekström

Race leader Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) was hit by a five-minute penalty for not putting his seatbelt back on quickly enough after getting out to fix a puncture on Stage 8. The Toyota Gazoo Racing man still has an advantage of over half an hour at the front of the race, but will be out to limit any further time losses on the next two days.

“We only lost one minute from Seb today and tomorrow we have a good position on the road. Today we had no punctures or any issues with the car. Mathieu’s navigation was good.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah

Chasing Al-Attiyah down over every stage is nine-time WRC winner Sébastien Loeb (FRA). The Frenchman’s BRX Hunter has been in attack mode for over a week now, but still the gap to his Qatari rival stands at 32m40s. Unfortunately for Loeb, he now seems to be running out of road.

“We can’t try any more than we are already doing to catch Nasser. The gap is big, but we’ll do everything we can in these last two days to get as close as we can.” – Sébastien Loeb

It’s mission accomplished for Seth Quintero (USA) as he won his 10th T3 stage of this Dakar. The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team driver has now tied the record with Pierre Lartigue (FRA) for the most stage wins in a single Dakar. 19-year-old Quintero now has two more stages to extend the record.

“It’s been a wild journey. From the lowest lows to the highest highs, our Dakar has had it all. That’s now win number 10 and my mind is blown. I’m pretty emotional right now and out of words.” – Seth Quintero

 

Quintero was followed in by his team-mate Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP) who brought her OT3 to second on the stage. The overall T3 race is still being led by Chaleco Lopez (CHL), as it has been since the conclusion of Stage 2.

A third Dakar bike race title for Toby Price (AUS) is looking unlikely this year with now just two stages remaining. However, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider reminded everyone of his quality by taking the win on Stage 10.

“We’ve still got two days to go and it’s not over until the finish. I’ve so far managed to keep myself healthy so that’s the main thing. We’ll keep trying for the best result we can until the last day.” – Toby Price

The chances of last year’s bike race winner successfully defending his crown are over as Kevin Benavides (ARG) departed the rally on Stage 10. A mechanical issue brought the KTM Factory rider’s bike to a stop 133km into the 374km timed special stage.

Sam Sunderland (GBR) led the bike contest from Stage 2 until the Rest Day, but after Stage 10 he finds himself third overall. The GasGas Factory rider is hoping that a favourable track position for tomorrow’s stage will help get him back on top.

“That’s 10 stages in the books and still two more to come. Tomorrow is supposed to be another tricky stage. I should have given myself a good starting position so I’m happy with that.” – Sam Sunderland

Also looking to get back top spot in the bike rankings is Matthias Walkner (AUS) who lost his overnight lead and fell to fourth overall on Stage 10. Walkner remains the best shot for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing to win the Dakar for the first time since 2019.

“This rally is always a little bit up and down. This morning the guys in the front got lost so I could catch up some time. Then at the end of the stage when the sun was so high I lost some time finding the way.” – Matthias Walkner

A dominant drive from truck race leader Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) extended his advantage as the Team Kamaz Master driver looks set to make it back-to-back victories at the Dakar. Sotnikov took his lead to over 10 minutes from Kamaz team-mate Eduard Nikolaev (RUS).

 

“We are going into the last two days with a slim lead, it’s not going to be easy.” – Dmitry Sotnikov

 

Third placed Anton Shibalov (RUS) and fourth placed Andrey Karginov (RUS) currently give Team Kamaz Master a 1-2-3-4 at the top of the general classification.

Tomorrow’s Stage 11 will take the Dakar convoy on a 345km loop around the Bisha bivouac. The race course will feature dunes of all shapes and sizes, perfect for any competitor looking to launch a late attack.

2022 Dakar Rally Standings after Stage 10

CAR RACE TOP 5
1. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) TOYOTA 33:13:37

2. S. LOEB (FRA) BRX +32:40

3. Y. AL RAJHI (SAU) TOYOTA +55:48
4. O. TERRANOVA (ARG) BRX +1:29:18
5. J. PRZYGONSKI (POL) MINI +1:41:02

BIKE RACE TOP 5
1. A. VAN BEVEREN (FRA) YAMAHA 33:27:06
2. P. QUINTANILLA (CHL) HONDA +05:15

3. S. SUNDERLAND (GBR) GAS GAS +05:59


4. M. WALKNER (AUT) KTM +08:24

5. J. BARREDA (ESP) HONDA +8:47

TRUCK RACE TOP 5
1. D. SOTNIKOV (RUS) KAMAZ 35:58:08
2. E. NIKOLAEV (RUS) KAMAZ +10:18
3. A. SHIBALOV (RUS) KAMAZ +44:27
4. A. KARGINOV (RUS) KAMAZ +1:49:19
5. J. VAN KASTEREN (NLD) IVECO +2:33:19

LIGHTWEIGHT PROTOTYPE (T3) TOP 5
1. F. LOPEZ CONTARDO (CHL) CAN-AM 39:43:03
2. S. ERIKSSON (SWE) CAN-AM +55:56
3. F. ALVAREZ (ESP) CAN-AM +2:56:28
4. C. GUTIERREZ (ESP) OT3 +4:22:33
5. P. LEDEDEV (RUS) CAN-AM +4:46:47

QUOTES

Stéphane Peterhansel: “It was one of our first clean specials, without shock absorber issues, punctures or navigation problems. We haven’t had any big mechanicals since the start of the second week, so we’re making good progress and having fun driving the car. I’m not necessarily a stage hunter, but each Audi driver has now won a stage, and that’s fantastic.”

Carlos Sainz: “This was a good stage for us. At some point we were in some dust, but we made no navigation errors.”

Mattias Ekström: “We had a tough job finding the first waypoint, but after that it was a super enjoyable stage. Very nice to drive and no mistakes apart from a little one at the beginning.”

Sébastien Loeb: “We can’t try any more than we are already doing to catch Nasser. The gap is big, but we’ll do everything we can in these last two days to get as close as we can.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “We only lost one minute from Seb today and tomorrow we have a good position on the road. Today we had no punctures or any issues with the car. Mathieu’s navigation was good.”

Cyril Despres: “We had a decent pace all day, of course I would like to be a little faster. I think I’m getting closer to the maximum rhythm of the car.”

Laia Sanz: “We hit a rock and broke the wheel and the rim. After that we had some problems with the brakes. Today could have been worse and we’ll go again tomorrow.”

Seth Quintero: “It’s been a wild journey. From the lowest lows to the highest highs, our Dakar has had it all. That’s now win number 10 and my mind is blow. I’m pretty emotional right now and out of words.”

Cristina Gutiérrez: “It was a very tough stage. It was narrow and rocky in places. I tried to push a lot. We broke one of the radiators so we arrived at the finish line with a very hot car.”

Matthias Walkner: “This rally is always a little bit up and down. This morning the guys in the front got lost so I could catch up some time. Then at the end of the stage when the sun was so high I lost some time finding the way.”

Stefan Svitko: “The first part of the stage was very, very fast. I’m happy to finish the stage. Yesterday I had a big problem with my gearbox and I must change my engine.”

Toby Price: “We’ve still got two days to go and it’s not over until the finish. I’ve so far managed to keep myself healthy so that’s the main thing. We’ll keep trying for the best result we can until the last day.”

Sam Sunderland: “That’s 10 stages in the books and still two more to come. Tomorrow is supposed to be another tricky stage. I should have given myself a good starting position so I’m happy with that.”

Mohammed Jaffar: “I was very stressed this morning when I saw my engine oil leaking a little bit. After 10 days of racing you don’t want any issue with the bike. I rode smart and I’m glad I reached the finish.”

Mohammed Balooshi: “I’m so happy to be at the finish line of Stage 10. The technical section is where I did my best riding today. We went on a really narrow mountain path and there I had to take it easy. There was no need to be hero, just get to the finish.”

Danilo Petrucci: “I didn’t want to push too much today because it’s easy to make a mistake when you’re so tired. Tomorrow is another long day, and another day closer to the finish line. I’m so happy to still be in the race.”

 

Dmitry Sotnikov: “I followed Eduard for the first 150 kilometres, but then he made a small navigation mistake, I overtook him and this is how we ended up in first place. But, in the end, we only gained a minute and a half. The stage had dust everywhere and offered very few opportunities for overtaking. We are going into the last two days with a slim lead, it’s not going to be easy.”