Sébastien Loeb won the second stage of the Dakar Rally on Monday, and closed the gap on the leader of General Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Loeb, a nine-time world rally champion, covered the 339 kilometer / 210.465 mile segment in three hours and 25 minutes to claim his 15th stage victory in Dakar, and the first since 2019. The 47-year-old Frenchman won a first victory. for Bahrain Raid Xtreme, finishing 3m28s ahead of finalist Al-Attiyah.
Additionally, the Prodrive Hunter driven by Loeb made history by becoming the first car to win a Dakar rally stage powered by sustainable fuel. The vehicle runs on Prodrive EcoPower, which is made from agricultural waste and reduces CO2 emissions by 80% compared to gasoline.
“It was a real battle because Nasser was pushing really hard on the sand as he opened the stage and really fast,” said Loeb. “We pushed hard like we were in a 340km WRC rally, so it was exciting and really tough, but we have a fantastic result at the end. Towards the end of the stage Nasser and I were riding through the dunes together but then there were a lot of rocks so I tried to lead so I could pick the line and try to avoid a puncture so we could be okay. complete the stage, because yesterday I had two apartments.
“It wasn’t such a big sailing question today, as the line was really clear for Fabian and me. This is a fantastic result for BRX and proof of the benefits of a durable fuel for such long distance events. After a tremendous amount of work from so many people over so many months, we are proud to take this first step for the team.
Al-Attiyay, three-time Dakar champion at the wheel of Toyota Gazoo Racing, saw his overall lead tighten to just 9m16 over Loeb.
Another three-time Dakar champion Carlos Sainz bounced back from his sailing difficulties on Matchday 1 to finish third of the day for Team Audi Sport. Although he climbed into the top 30 of the general classification, the Spaniard remains more than two hours from first place.
Joan Barreda Bort beat her rivals on motorcycles to claim a second stage victory, driving on the sand with Monster Energy Honda in 3h31m20s. The Spaniard is in 10th place after the stage victory, but is ahead of category leader Sam Sunderland, who finished second on the day, by 20m25.
Skyler Howes led the way for the Americans on Matchday 2 with a fourth place finish. Andrew Short finished ninth, while 2020 winner Ricky Brabac crossed the line in 15th. In the general classification of the class, Howes is fifth, 9m59s behind Sunderland. Short is 16th, just ahead of Brabac 19th.
“I don’t think I had a difficult day today, I didn’t really make a mistake,” said Brabac. “It was a very cold day. I started out pretty far and for me it was like a motocross track, no navigation. I had a lot of lines to follow. The hardest part was riding in the wet sand with the big ruts that had been made by the bikes that had come out in front. It was a very quick stage.
“We started to sink into the sand dunes and it was a physical day. It’s only the second day… let’s hope we have some energy at the end of the rally! We will continue to push for the next few days because we are really far behind. Yesterday 90 percent of the contestants got lost with notes that didn’t make sense and today I had another problem like this. The Dakar is tough.
– DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) January 3, 2022
Despite the victory of stage 1 in the light prototypes, the American Seth Quintero suffered mechanical problems in stage 2, won by Guillaume de Mevius. In SSV, the American Austin Jones regained the lead in the general classification for 1m52s after winning the second stage.
On Tuesday, a third stage will stretch 255 kilometers / 158.45 miles from Al Artawiyah to Al Qaysumah.
Classification of the Dakar Rally 2022 after stage 2
TOP 5 CARS
- N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) TOYOTA 06:59:21
- S. LOEB (FRA) BRX +09: 16
- L. ALVAREZ (ARG) TOYOTA +40: 53
- G. DE VILLIERS (ZAF) TOYOTA +41: 22
- V. VASILYEV (RUS) VRT +43: 39
TOP 5 BIKE
- S. SUNDERLAND (GBR) GAS GAS 08:31:29
- A. VAN BEVEREN (FRA) YAMAHA +02: 51
- D. SANDERS (AUS) GAS GAS +03: 29
- M. WALKNER (AUT) KTM +04: 08
- S. HOWES (United States) HUSQVARNA +09: 59
TOP 5 TRUCKS
- D. SOTNIKOV (RUS) KAMAZ 07:59:07
- E. NIKOLAEV (RUS) KAMAZ +02: 07
- A. KARGINOV (RUS) KAMAZ +18: 34
- A. SHIBALOV (RUS) KAMAZ +22: 43
- A. LOPRAIS (CZE) PRAGA +31: 11
LIGHT PROTOTYPE (T3) TOP 5
- F. LOPEZ CONTARDO (CHL) CAN-AM 08:30:15
- S. ERIKSSON (SWE) CAN-AM +07: 22
- P. LEBEDEV (RUS) CAN-AM +23: 48
- C. GUTIERREZ (ESP) OT3 +42: 45
- P. PINCHEDEZ (FRA) PINCH +48: 19