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SPORT NEWS – Al-Attiyah completes Dakar domination; Jones, Sunderland additionally win

Al-Attiyah completes Dakar domination; Jones, Sunderland additionally win


Nasser Al-Attiyah went into the forty fourth Dakar Rally as a agency favourite and lived as much as it, finishing a dominant run to victory in Friday’s ultimate stage of the world’s most grueling motorsport occasion.

The Qatari off-road ace and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel put in a masterful efficiency all through the two-week marathon with their Toyota Gazoo Racing Hilux. Al-Attiyah seized the lead from the get-go and took the 2 specials (1A and 1B) that made up the opening stage. In the meantime his anticipated robust opposition from Audi’s new hybrid withered from the outset, first when Carlos Sainz Sr. made a catastrophic navigation blunder after which the following day, Stephane Peterhansel misplaced one in all his rear wheels and needed to settle for an especially heavy penalty as a way to proceed.

The battle for high honors was subsequently a duel between Al-Attiyah and Sebastien Loeb, however the Frenchman faltered on Stage 3 when he suffered a damaged drive shaft, leading to a 50-minute deficit by the point the remaining day got here round. As soon as firmly in command, the person who earned the nickname of “Prince of the Desert” in South America claimed his fourth Dakar title within the Center East, subsequent door to his residence nation, to go together with his victories from 2011, 2015 and 2019. His ultimate margin of 27m46s was fastidiously managed over the second half of the occasion.

Al-Attiyah was in command from the outset, and by no means relaxed his grip on the lead. Picture courtesy of Toyota

“It was an unbelievable Dakar for us. We’re happy with the brand new T1+ rules,” beamed Al-Attiyah afterward. “There have been three strong groups able to successful. Matthieu and I, the workforce, all of us did a great job to win. We had completed second each time since we got here to Saudi Arabia two years in the past, now we’re actually pleased to attain our purpose.

“Toyota Gazoo Racing did a implausible job within the span of a yr by constructing this new automotive. The entire race went and not using a hitch. We opened up a niche on the primary day and have since managed our lead. We’re actually pleased, and I reckon we’ll begin considering of the following Dakar in per week or 10 days. We’re lucky to get to race the Dakar in Saudi Arabia, and I want to thank the federal government for this chance to find such breathtaking landscapes.”

Loeb can discover solace within the stellar efficiency of his BRX Hunter, however like in 2017, when he got here up quick in his duel with Peterhansel, he needed to accept runner-up honors. Al-Attiyah’s teammate Yazeed Al-Rajhi inserted himself within the Franco-Qatari battle a number of occasions and proved that he’s a pressure to be reckoned with on residence turf, claiming third general.

Prodrive might be happy to have Orlando Terranova’s Hunter in fourth place, one of the best results of his profession in a automotive after 14 begins. In distinction, the Mini X-raid buggy appears to have been left within the mud by the brand new technology of T1+ vehicles, with Jakub Przygooski slipping down two locations to sixth. Giniel De Villiers got here in fifth to say his 18th top-10 end at Dakar. Additionally within the high 10 was Mathieu Serradori in his Century (ninth). Mattias Ekstrom’s tenth place general capped Audi’s spectacular comeback efficiency that ought to stand it in good stead for subsequent yr.

SSV: Jones rebounds on ultimate day

America has a brand new champion at Dakar, as Austin Jones rebounded from a problematic Thursday to safe the SSV win on the ultimate day after a constant two-week run that outlasted flashier opponents.

The Polish posse received no fewer than 9 out of the 13 specials up for grabs (together with 1B), with Marek Goczal probably the most prolific stage hunter, with six wins to his identify, adopted by his brother Michal with two and Aron Domzala with one. But not one in all them stood on the ultimate podium. Endurance races just like the Dakar require a excessive stage of consistency and studying to stroll earlier than you run. The Polish armada ignored this rule and paid the worth within the form of subdued performances and mechanical woes.

After falling behind with one stage to go, Jones got here on robust to win SSV by 2m37s. Picture courtesy of Dakar Rally

Jones, alternatively, flew below the radar. The 25-year-old American appeared on the cusp of victory a number of occasions however by no means fairly bought there, though he did end on the rostrum when he wanted to show the tables on opponents akin to rookie Rodrigo Luppi de Oliveira. The Brazilian topped the general earlier than working into mechanical bother, the identical destiny that might befall Gerard Farres, Jones’s teammate at South Racing, within the final particular. Though the Spaniard began the stage in command, {an electrical} drawback price him simply sufficient time for Jones to take the crown by 2m37s.

“I informed you that might occur, that it was going to come back all the way down to the very finish, and that’s precisely what it did,” declared Jones. “We had a fairly clear day at the moment — I drove as laborious as I may. We bought a few errors right here and there, however general, clearly we bought it accomplished and we made it. That is loopy. Shout out to my navigator Gustavo Gugelmin, who for 13 days straight has been nice. The entire workforce, South Racing, Scott… it takes the entire workforce.

“We knew we had a 1m41s hole coming on this morning. The liaison helped to loosen up. I simply knew what we needed to do — we had a purpose, and we went for it. It means every little thing — that is what we’ve educated for for 3 years now. To get it accomplished on the final day like it is a good ending to a very nice story!”

Farres needed to accept second place forward of promising rookie, Rokas Baciuska. In the identical vein as Jones, the Lithuanian made little noise earlier than bursting onto the scene with a win in stage 10 and one other one within the closing particular two days later. His consistency propelled him to the third step of the rostrum in his very first Dakar begin.

Bikes: Sunderland breaks again

In distinction to the automotive ranks, the bike class was an up-and-down-battle this yr with quite a few adjustments on the high. The ultimate margin of 3m27s between Sam Sunderland and Pablo Quintanilla on the end line in Jeddah was the slimmest on the high of the chief board since 1994, and ended a successful drought for the veteran British rider stretching again to 2017.

Initially, Sunderland stayed within the shadow of his flamboyant GasGas teammate, Daniel Sanders. Nonetheless, Sanders threw all of it away after dominating the primary week, despatched residence by a crash whereas exiting the bivouac in Riyadh. Sunderland defended the general lead for 4 days with out successful any specials. In the meantime, former champions Ricky Brabec, Toby Value and Kevin Benavides had been pressured into comeback mode after flopping within the opening levels. Solely Matthias Walkner, additionally a earlier winner, and Adrien Van Beveren had been in a position to match Sunderland blow for blow. In the long run, Sunderland held on to make GasGas the sixth motorbike constructor to win Dakar.

“I used to be undecided whether or not I’d received,” Sunderland admitted. Flavien Duhamel/Pink Bull Content material Pool

“I actually can’t be happier. This final stage was so troublesome and a lot stress… A variety of navigation, lots of difficult notes, a couple of occasions a bit complicated and undecided I used to be going the best approach. Phew!” stated the relieved Sunderland. “The final 10 minutes, I used to be undecided whether or not I’d received; now they’ve informed me and, wow, dream come true. Even to hearken to you say it brings a little bit little bit of emotion there. I had a fairly tough season, however while you win the Dakar, it’s all price it. So good.”

Light-weight prototypes: “Chaleco” cruises to double as Quintero stars

By switching to this class after successful the T4 race in 2021, Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez set himself up for a confrontation with the OT3-Pink Bull armada, which had already claimed the lion’s share of the specials final yr with out making an influence on the final standings. Nonetheless, a barrage of mechanicals quickly plagued the American workforce, knocking Seth Quintero, Cristina Gutierrez and Guillaume De Mevius out of competition and leaving the sector clear for South Racing, with their strong Chilean captain on the helm. Lopez reached the remaining day with 25 minutes in hand over his younger teammate, Sebastian Eriksson.

Whereas Quintero did the successful, constant Lopez introduced residence the trophy. Marcelo Maragni/Pink Bull Content material Pool

Lopez had no incentive to threat all of it chasing stage wins, not like the vivacious Quintero. Not within the combine for the title after spending nearly a whole evening in stage 2, the 19-year-old Californian lastly achieved a excessive diploma of consistency on the highest stage. With 12 victories in 13 specials, Quintero will preserve Dakar geeks busy evaluating his feat to Pierre Lartigue’s 11 stage wins in 1994 (counting all automotive classes).

“These two weeks went fairly easily. It was a very totally different situation in comparison with final yr, after I needed to go flat out day by day with out fail,” famous Lopez. “After Stage 2 we held a substantial lead, so we simply wanted to deal with making it to the end day after day. I’m actually pleased that our technique labored out. It was a take a look at of endurance — we needed to keep away from breakdowns. In any case that, victory tastes actually candy.”

Quads: Giroud perseveres

Alexandre Giroud emerged victorious from a basic Dakar conflict of attrition within the quad class. Close to the beginning, the Frenchman watched because the flashy performances of different riders turned out to be a flash within the pan. Pablo Copetti, alternatively, grasped that the Dakar is an endurance race. The Argentinian-American and Giroud locked horns within the second week as Copetti launched assault after assault on the Frenchman’s lead. In the long run, it was Copetti who bent the knee after a damaged engine in stage 10 put paid to his probabilities.

Giroud now had a transparent path to Jeddah Corniche, the place he needed to pay tribute to his father, Daniel, who grew to become the primary quad rider to complete the Dakar again in 1997. Racing in a league of his personal for a lot of the rally, Giroud Jr. dominated the standings by 2h21m over his Drag’On stablemate, Spain’s Francisco Moreno.

Vehicles: All Kamaz on a regular basis

The Russian Kamaz truck workforce has by no means shied away from its standing as Dakar favorites. It has racked up 18 victories with six totally different drivers since 2000 and prolonged its hegemony in Saudi Arabia this yr.

Every of the 4 males on the wheels of the blue vehicles claimed no less than one stage, leaving nothing for the competitors. Reigning champion Dmitry Sotnikov defended his title and led a Kamaz 1-2-3-4. He received the rally with 9m58s to spare over his teammate and four-time Dakar champion Eduard Nikolaev, who took his eighth podium spot in 10 begins as a driver. Janus van Kasteren was one of the best of the remaining in fifth place, over an hour behind the final Kamaz.

RESULTS:

CAR
1. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) TOYOTA 38:33:03

2. S. LOEB (FRA) BRX +27:46

3. Y. AL RAJHI (SAU) TOYOTA +1:01:13

4. O. TERRANOVA (ARG) BRX +1:27:23

5. G. DE VILLIERS (ZAF) TOYOTA +1:41:48

6. Ok. PRZYGONSKI (POL) MINI +1:53:06
9. M. EKSTROM (SWE) AUDI +2:42:11
12. C. SAINZ (ESP) AUDI +3:39:21

19. C. DESPRES (FRA) PEUGEOT +4:58:22

23. L. SANZ (ESP) MINI +6:18:56

59. S. PETERHANSEL (FRA) AUDI +68:12:13

LIGHTWEIGHT PROTOTYPE (T3)
1. F. LOPEZ CONTARDO (CHL) CAN-AM 45:50:51
2. S. ERIKSSON (SWE) CAN-AM +51:28
3. C. GUTIERREZ (ESP) OT3 +4:34:43

4. S. NAVARRO (ESP) CAN-AM +5:11:35
5. P. LEBEDEV (RUS) CAN-AM +5:52:14

16. S. QUINTERO (USA) OT3 +14:38:21

BIKE
1. S. SUNDERLAND (GBR) GAS GAS 38:47:30

2. P. QUINTANILLA (CHL) HONDA +03:27
3. M. WALKNER (AUT) KTM +06:47
4. A. VAN BEVEREN (FRA) YAMAHA +18:41
5. J. BARREDA (ESP) HONDA +25:42

10. T. PRICE (AUS) KTM +49:20
12. S. SVITKO (SVK) KTM +58:17

19. C. CHAPELIERE (FRA) KTM +2:39:30
37. M. BALOOSHI (UAE) HUSQVARNA +6:31:18

39. M. JAFFAR (KWT) KTM +7:57:36

90. D. PETRUCCI (ITA) KTM +20:42:04
101. Ok. BENAVIDES (ARG) KTM +23:52:59

TRUCK
1. D. SOTNIKOV (RUS) KAMAZ 41:37:34
2. E. NIKOLAEV (RUS) KAMAZ +09:58
3. A. SHIBALOV (RUS) KAMAZ +1:11:11
4. A. KARGINOV (RUS) KAMAZ +1:49:55
5. J. VAN KASTEREN (NLD) IVECO +3:08:30

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SPORT NEWS – Al-Attiyah completes Dakar domination; Jones, Sunderland additionally win
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