Red Bull Desert Wings end first week of 2021 Dakar Rally with trio stage wins and overall leads

RED BULL DESERT WINGS END FIRST WEEK OF DAKAR RALLY WITH STAGE WINS AND LEADS

It’s been six stages of dunes, high speeds and tricky navigation at the 2021 Dakar Rally and we’re only halfway through! Holding their nerve over the sands of Saudi Arabia have been the Red Bull Desert Wings as they plot a course for Dakar glory.

18-year-old rookie sensation Seth Quintero continues to shine in the Lightweight Vehicles race. He’s ended his first-ever week at the Dakar in the best possible way – becoming the rally’s youngest ever stage winner.

“It feels amazing to be the youngest ever Dakar stage winner. Now it’s the Rest Day tomorrow but I could honestly wake up as early as you like and go race again.” – Seth Quintero

The American teenager arrives at the Rest Day in third overall, less than nine minutes off the lead.

Elsewhere in the Lightweight Vehicles category things didn’t go quite as smoothly for Chaleco López who lost nearly an hour on the stage due to a mechanical problem and has slipped to fourth overall.

Cristina Gutiérrez suffered a broken jack and remained stuck on the stage until the Polaris of Wayne Matlock stopped so he could lend a hand. Dakar debutant Mattias Ekström also had his struggles on the stage. Meanwhile, Mitch Guthrie Jr. – a two-time stage winner in 2020 – was unable to start Stage Six due to an engine oil issue.

It’s advantage Monsieur Dakar after six stages of the Dakar car race as Stéphane Peterhansel holds a narrow lead of just under six minutes from second place Nasser Al-Attiyah. Al-Attiyah has won half of the first six stages and is determined to reel in Peterhansel in the second week.

“We are in second overall and next week we try to do our best to move to the front. This has not been an easy week for anybody.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah

Reigning champion Carlos Sainz rounded off an up and down week on a high by taking a stage win that keeps him third overall.

“In this first week we have had two days where we have lost 30 minutes so for sure we could have done a better job.” – Carlos Sainz

Giniel de Villiers and Kuba Przygoński have both come through the first week of the Dakar unscathed. De Villiers has a stage win to his name while Przygoński is fourth overall.

“We had a lot of sand and camel grass today. We were jumping a lot and we had a good time.” – Kuba Przygoński

Cyril Despres put his foot down after starting as the 39th car onto the stage. The Frenchman and co-driver Mike Horn blasted through the traffic to end up with a spot in the Top 10.

It was a tough day for Sébastien Loeb who saw his Hunter BRX suffer a broken suspension arm within the first 100km of the stage. The nine-time WRC champion who was running 10th overall was forced to wait for the arrival of his team’s assistance truck.

Two-time Dakar bike race winner Toby Price is leading as the rally reaches its halfway point. Price has two stage wins already at this Dakar and has once again proved he has the pace to match anyone.

“We’ll take the chance to gather ourselves up and get ready for what’s still to come.” – Toby Price

Price was joined in the Top 10 on Stage Six by fellow KTM riders Matthias WalknerSam Sunderland and rookie Daniel Sanders who took yet another podium result.

“Now it’s the Rest Day and after that the Marathon Stage.” – Daniel Sanders

Also successfully making it to the midway mark of the 2021 Dakar are bikers Štefan SvitkoCamille Chapelière and Laia Sanz.

“My week could have been better, but overall I’m happy.” – Laia Sanz

Team Kamaz Master seem to be taking it in turns to pick up stage wins in truck race. On Stage Six it was Ayrat Mardeev who set the pace. Mardeev was followed home by Dmitry Sotnikov who now has a 37 minute advantage at the front of the truck contest.

Tomorrow brings a much needed Rest Day and a chance to tune up those race vehicles for what promises to be a tough final week at the Dakar Rally.

STAGE SIX RESULTS

2021 Dakar Rally Car Race Top 5
1. C. SAINZ (ESP)   MINI   03:38:27
2. Y. AL RAJHI (SAU)   TOYOTA   +00:04:03
3. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT)   TOYOTA   +00:07:16
4. S. PETERHANSEL (FRA)   MINI  +00:07:34
5. J. PRZYGONSKI (POL)   TOYOTA   +00:14:21

2021 Dakar Rally Bike Race Top 5
1. J. BARREDA (ESP)   HONDA   03:45:27
2. R. BRANCH (BWA)   YAMAHA   +0:00:13
3. D. SANDERS (AUS)   KTM   +00:00:53
4. R. BRABEC (USA)   HONDA   +00:02:24
5. M. WALKNER (AUT)   KTM   +00:03:14

2021 Dakar Rally Lightweight Vehicle Top 5
1. S. QUINTERO (USA)  OT3   04:20:23
2. K. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT)  PH-SPORT   +00:00:23
3. G. FARRES (ESP)   CAN-AM   +00:04:34
4. A. JONES (USA)   CAN-AM   +00:05:49
5. A. DOMZALA (POL)   CAN-AM   +00:07:46

2021 Dakar Rally Truck Top 5
1. A. MARDEEV (RUS)   KAMAZ   04:08:52
2. D. SOTNIKOV (RUS)   KAMAZ   +00:01:08
3. A. SHIBALOV (RUS)   KAMAZ   +00:04:49
4. A. LOPRAIS (CZE)   PRAGA   +00:05:43
5. A. VISHNEUSKI (BLR)   MAZ   +00:05:50

QUOTES

Seth Quintero: “Today started off really strong. I charged hard all the way to the fuel stop and managed to catch the leaders. The leaders had started off quite a bit in front of us so we knew we were at least in the Top 3. We had a flat that cost us a few minutes, but after that me and my co-pilot Dennis (Zenz) put our heads down and charged as hard as we could.”

“It looks like we only won by 23 seconds but in my book a win’s a win. Today went absolutely amazing. We moved up one position in the general rankings and instead of 28 minutes off the lead we’re now only eight minutes away.”

“It feels amazing to be the youngest ever Dakar stage winner. Now it’s the Rest Day tomorrow but I could honestly wake up as early as you like and go race again.”

Carlos Sainz: “We were in a lot of sandy track today and everything was good for us. In this first week we have had two days where we have lost 30 minutes so for sure we could have done a better job.”

Stéphane Peterhansel: “For sure it’s been a good week. We haven’t done too many mistakes and we’ve found that the car has really good performance. After the Prologue stage I thought that I might be too old for this kind of fight. I’m happy I’ve been able to find the speed I’ve needed this week.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “It was not easy today. We had two punctures and this is very disappointing. But OK, still we are in second overall and next week we try to do our best to move to the front. This has not been an easy week for anybody.”

Giniel de Villiers: “It was tough today, a lot of broken dunes and I have pain in my neck from taking a big hit. We just tried to go at a decent speed but the guys at the front came past at very high speed. We had two punctures unfortunately so that put us back a little bit.”

Kuba Przygoński: “We had a lot of sand and camel grass today. We were jumping a lot and we had a good time. It was a nice stage to have before the Rest Day. We’re happy to be here and still in the race.”

Matthias Walkner: “It was a nice stage for me, a really fast one. I was pushing with Ross Branch, his speed was impressive. Now I’m super happy to have the Rest Day.”

Daniel Sanders: “It was a tough, physical stage. It was cut short by 100km so I had to push hard to try and make up some of the time lost yesterday. Now it’s the Rest Day and after that the Marathon Stage.”

Sam Sunderland: “Another long day. The boys in front did a good job of opening the road. I pushed all day to try and come back to the guys but the pace was really high. Happy to have another day done.”

Toby Price: “The pace was crazy and the guys who led us out did a great job. They led the whole day so credit to them. We’re at Rest Day now so that’s the main thing. We’ll take the chance to gather ourselves up and get ready for what’s still to come.”

Laia Sanz: “It was a very physical stage, but I’m happy with how I rode. I was struggling a little bit at the beginning and at the end. That’s because I couldn’t train before this rally. My week could have been better, but overall I’m happy.”