Everything still to play for at Dakar Rally after Stage 9 twists
Quintero closes on new stage win record as De Villiers and Walkner impress.
Teenager Seth Quintero is on the verge of making Dakar Rally history after he picked up his ninth 2022 edition win in Saudi Arabia as South African Giniel De Villiers picked up a Tuesday stage win and Austrian Matthias Walkner claimed the bike lead. Here is all you need to know:
– A tricky 287km loop stage around the Wadi Ad-Dawasir bivouac was the task for Stage 9 with the undulating race track featuring canyons and plateaus, as well as plenty of dunes in between.
– It was a familiar story in the T3 category with American 19-year-old Quintero setting the fastest time for the ninth time and he needs just one more to equal the record of 10 set by Pierre Lartigue (FRA) in 1994.
– Fellow Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team driver Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP) ended up second to move to fourth overall as she hunts for a podium finish with Chaleco Lopez (CHL) still leading overall.
– In the car race, De Villiers celebrated his 18th Dakar stage win and the 2009 champion is now up to fifth overall in an effort to chase down a ninth podium finish of his distinguished Dakar career.
– De Villiers’s Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to control the rally from first place overall with Sébastien Loeb (FRA) still throwing everything he can at the Qatari as he averaged 158kph over the first 35km of the timed special, only for a puncture to hamper him late on.
– It was another solid stage from the trio of Audi Sport drivers with Carlos Sainz (ESP), Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) and Mattias Ekström (SWE) all in the top 10 in their Audi RS Q e-trons.
– The lead of the bike race changed hands once again today with 2018 Dakar winner Walkner taking top spot off 2017 Dakar winner Sam Sunderland (GBR) in a fascinating tussle.
– Walkner’s Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team-mate Kevin Benavides (ARG) is another biker moving up the rankings as the bike race’s defending champion is just 10 minutes back with three stages left.
– Russian Eduard Nikolaev of Team Kamaz Master completed the day with the best truck time and currently sits second in the overall classification eight minutes behind last year’s winner Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS).
– A rich tapestry of landscapes and colours will greet the Dakar convoy in Wednesday’s Stage 10 with 374km of timed racing to be covered between Wadi Ad-Dawasir and Bisha.
Giniel De Villiers: “The mechanics worked really, really hard last night because we had a problem with the dampers on the last two days. Today the car was just unbelievable and really nice to drive.”
Mattias Ekström: “It was the first time in my life that I had opened a Dakar stage. I didn’t push too much, but I think we did a pretty good job. It was a great experience for us.”
Sébastien Loeb: “We pushed hard from the start until the end. No mistakes in the navigation and just one little puncture. Apart from the wheel change, we did a clean stage without any problems.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “Today we were able to have a really good run without pushing too much. We have a good lead overall, so we’re quite happy. It’s great to give Toyota a 1-2-3 result today.”
Seth Quintero: “We had a smooth day. It was really rocky so we set out to avoid getting a flat. I’m still in the hunt for the most stage wins.”
Sam Sunderland: “It was a big mix of terrain today. We were in the dunes, canyons and plateaus. There were technical parts and also fast bits. It was a stage of everything.”
Matthias Walkner: “It was sandy, it was rocky and it was a really, really nice stage. It was a shorter stage today so that made things a little bit easier than previous days.”
Kevin Benavides: “I felt good on the stage and was able to go fast. It was a shorter stage, so I was determined to push all day. I think I did a good job.”
Dmitry Sotnikov: “It was not such a long day today. I lot of stones and a lot of dust. The track was not so easy to follow and we made a small mistake at the beginning of the stage.”
2022 Dakar Rally Standings after Stage 9
CAR RACE TOP 5
1. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) TOYOTA 30:10:04
2. S. LOEB (FRA) BRX +39:05
3. Y. AL RAJHI (SAU) TOYOTA +58:44
4. O. TERRANOVA (ARG) BRX +1:36:09
5. G. DE VILLIERS (ZAF) TOYOTA +1:45:01
BIKE RACE TOP 5
1. M. WALKNER (AUT) KTM 30:14:03
2. S. SUNDERLAND (GBR) GAS GAS +02:12
3. A. VAN BEVEREN (FRA) YAMAHA +03:56
4. P. QUINTANILLA (CHL) HONDA +04:41
5. K. BENAVIDES (ARG) HONDA +10:22
TRUCK RACE TOP 5
1. D. SOTNIKOV (RUS) KAMAZ 32:43:53
2. E. NIKOLAEV (RUS) KAMAZ +08:51
3. A. SHIBALOV (RUS) KAMAZ +41:18
4. A. LOPRAIS (CZE) PRAGA +1:32:57
5. A. KARGINOV (RUS) KAMAZ +1:47:30
LIGHTWEIGHT PROTOTYPE (T3) TOP 5
1. F. LOPEZ CONTARDO (CHL) CAN-AM 35:47:12
2. S. ERIKSSON (SWE) CAN-AM +1:19:51
3. F. ALVAREZ (ESP) CAN-AM +3:06:21
4. C. GUTIERREZ (ESP) OT3 +4:53:51
5. P. LEBEDEV (RUS) CAN-AM +5:00:27