The furious early pace of the 2022 Dakar Rally was once again on display during Stage 3 with plenty packed into the 255km of racing near Al Qaisumah, despite the timed special stage being shorted by 100km due to heavy rains in the region. Here is all you need to know:
– Spanish legend Carlos Sainz wrote another chapter of Dakar history by recording the first-ever Dakar stage win by a T1-Ultimate machine – a category reserved for alternatively powered vehicles.
– Sainz tore through the stage in his Audi RS Q e-Tron to pick up his 40th Dakar stage win with Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) and Mattias Ekström (SWE) finishing third and fifth respectively.
– It may have been a second consecutive day without a stage win for Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), but still, the Toyota Hilux T1+ driver managed to extend his lead in the car race to over 37 minutes.
– Frenchman Sébastien Loeb had been pushing Al-Attiyah hard across the dunes, but losing four-wheel drive on his BRX Hunter cost the nine-time WRC winner plenty of time as Spain’s Laia Sanz continued her steep learning curve after switching from bikes into a MINI ALL4 Racing car.
– Two-time bike winner Toby Price (AUS) continues to fight back from the navigation confusion on Stage 1 that cost him dear with second place on Tuesday cutting down the gap to 26m21s to leader Sam Sunderland.
– Price’s fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Kevin Benavides (ARG) and Matthias Walkner (AUT) starred with defending champion Benavides eighth overall and Walkner third, just 90 seconds off the lead.
– Defending truck race champion Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) continues to lead the charge for Team Kamaz Master as he sits on top with Eduard Nikolaev (RUS), Andrey Karginov (RUS) and Anton Shibalov (RUS) all behind.
– There was another stage win to celebrate for the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team in the T3 category as Seth Quintero (USA) helped himself to the Tuesday stage win, his third of the rally so far.
– Sadly, Monday’s stage winner Guillaume De Mevius (BEL) came to a standstill after 14km due to a broken transmission and Spaniard Cristina Gutiérrez also stopped after 167km, while teammate Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) did not take to the start having retired from his debut Dakar.
– Chaleco Lopez (CHI) leads the T3 category overall after another podium result with Wednesday’s Stage 4 heading to the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh via a mammoth timed special stage of 465km, which will include a 200km section of fast tracks, a chain of dunes and a rocky finish.
Carlos Sainz: “I’m happy with the car, we were able to drive fast today. This is the first race for this car so we are learning so much all the time.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “We tried to minimise risk today and finish the stage without any problems. I think we’re in a good position for tomorrow’s long and difficult stage.”
Sébastien Loeb: “It was a bad day for us. We broke the car’s prop shaft so we lost four-wheel drive. Doing this stage with two-wheel drive was really tough. I’m happy to reach the end of the stage.”
Kevin Benavides: “I need to push day by day to make up the time lost on the first stage. I will stay patient because you never know when something big can happen at the Dakar.”
Sam Sunderland: “I got caught by some guys behind when I was trying to find a waypoint in the off-piste. Tomorrow looks like a long one, so I think it was best to hold off a little today.”
Anton Shibalov: “Today was fast all day. All day it was push, push, push. Our truck had no problems at all on the stage.”
Seth Quintero: “The stage was super fun. Very sandy, with lots of dunes but also super fast. It definitely suited my driving style and I’m stoked to come away with the win.”
Andreas Mikkelsen: “Even though we only drove for three days I think I learned so much. I know now what rally-raid is all about and what a big challenge the Dakar really is for both man and machine.”
2022 Dakar Rally Standings after Stage 3
CAR RACE TOP 5
1. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) TOYOTA 09:31:22
2. S. LOEB (FRA) BRX +37:40
3. L. ALVAREZ (ARG) TOYOTA +42:06
4. G. DE VILLIERS (ZAF) TOYOTA +45:22
5. Y. AL RAJHI (SAU) TOYOTA +47:29
BIKE RACE TOP 5
1. S. SUNDERLAND (GBR) GAS GAS 11:13:40
2. A. VAN BEVEREN (FRA) YAMAHA +00:04
3. M. WALKNER (AUT) KTM +01:30
4. S. HOWES (USA) HUSQVARNA +03:55
5. D. SANDERS (AUS) GAS GAS +08:54
TRUCK RACE TOP 5
1. D. SOTNIKOV (RUS) KAMAZ 10:42:32
2. E. NIKOLAEV (RUS) KAMAZ +11:45
3. A. KARGINOV (RUS) KAMAZ +19:44
4. A. SHIBALOV (RUS) KAMAZ +27:05
5. A. LOPRAIS (CZE) PRAGA +47:08
LIGHTWEIGHT PROTOTYPE (T3) TOP 5
1. F. LOPEZ CONTARDO (CHL) CAN-AM 11:27:54
2. S. ERIKSSON (SWE) CAN-AM +09:09
3. P. LEBEDEV (RUS) CAN-AM +27:05
4. P. PINCHEDEZ (FRA) CAN-AM +1:19:00
5. F. ALVAREZ (ESP) CAN-AM +1:33:19