What Dakar Day 2 Report
Where Al Duwadimi, Saudi Arabia
When Sunday 7 January 2024
Peterhansel, Florimo take a gruelling Dakar Day 2
The status quo returned to Dakar on Sunday as the legends marched back to the top of the leader board following an inconspicuous start on Saturday. Mr. Dakar, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger’s petrol-electric Audi emerged victorious among the cars after a gruelling 463 kilometres of racing on the day, to win from Prodrive Hunter pair, Sebastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin and American rookies Seth Quintero and Dennis Zenz’s SA-built Gazoo Toyota Hilux.
It was a similar scenario on two wheels, where Chilean Jose Florimo sped to victory for Honda as the status quo also returned and legendary riders filled the top ten. That would however fail to displace Botswana rider Ross Branch and his Hero from a 2 minute 55 second lead in the overall rankings.
Peterhansel led the way at the first waypoint with Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel in pursuit in their Prodrive Hunter, from Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz in the second Audi. Quintero followed from Saudi home hero Yazeed Al Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk’s similar Hilux, and Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist in the third Audi. Peterhansel led until mid-distance when Quinteiro took control up front with Al Rajhi third from Loeb. But it was Peterhansel who ultimately took the day from Loeb and Quinteiro.
Al Attiyah ended a far happier fourth on the day from Al Rajhi, Guerlain Chicherit and Alex Winocq’s Hilux, Ekstrom, Sainz, Lucas Moraes and Armand Monleon’s Gazoo Hilux and Martin Prokop’s Ford Raptor in tenth. Rear wheel drive winners Frenchmen Mathieu Serradori and Loic Minaudier came home 11th in their SA-built Century CR6-T. Of the South African car crews Day 1 rookie sensation Guy Botterill and Brett Cummings’ Gazoo Hilux once again impressed as they fought back to 13th.
Nani Roma and Alex Bravo were the best of the SA Ford Rangers in a handy 17th with Brian Baragwanath and Leonard Cremer’s AWD Century CR-7T 20th and Gazoo Hilux crew Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy 22nd. SA rookies, Saood Variawa and Francois Cazalet’s Gazoo Hilux, and Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer’s NWM Ranger both had tougher days en route to 32nd and 39th, respectively. Wei Han and Li Ma were the best of the Red-Lined REVO+ entries in 40th, with rookies Stefan Carmans and Antonius van Tiel 51st and Aliyyah Koloc and Sebastien Delaunay 58th. Pretoria crew Hennie de Klerk and Juan Möhr were fighting to the finish after losing front drive in their TreasuryONE WCT built Hilux.
The upshot of all that is that Sainz leads the way for Audi overall, with the consistent Al Rajhi second in the best of the Toyotas. Loeb has bounced back to third from Quintero’s Gazoo Hilux, Saturday winner de Mevius’ similar machine, and Ekstrom. Al Attiyah, Moraes, Peterhansel and Guerlain Chicherit’s Hilux close off the top ten. Serradori sits 12th overall from Botterill and de Villiers, with Roma’s Ford 16th.
On two wheels, Florimo’s Honda took the day from 2023 winner Argentine Luciano Benavides’ Husqvarna, Chilean Pablo Quintanilla’s Honda, German Sherco rider Sebastien Bühler, Californian Ricky Brabec’s Honda and Brit Sam Sunderland’s GasGas after a day-long tussle. Ross Branch fought back to 11th after dropping well down early on. SA riders, Charan Moore was an impressive 25th on his Husqvarna, while Rally 2 amateur rival Bradley Cox on ran strong early on but hit trouble to slip to 34th on his BAS KTM. SA rookie Ronald Venter impressed in 60th on his KTM, Zimbabwean Ashley Thixton’s was 75th on his Husqvarna and Stuart Gregory 81st on his Malle Moto KTM. Kerim Fitz Gerald unfortunately crashed out.
Overall, Ross branch leads the two wheelers by just under 3 minutes over Jose Florimo, with Brabec third from Quintanilla, Luciano Benavides, and Sunderland. Bradley Cox sits 15th and second in R2, Charan Moore 31st, Thixton 56th, Venter 70th and Gregory provisionally 78th.
On other action, the Goczal Challenger steamroller continued as overall Eryk and Oriol Mena beat Michal and Szymon Gospodarczyk, but Mitchell Guthrie and Kellon Walch prevented a clean sweep in third. Class leaders Rodrigo Varela and Enio Bozzano took Side by Side victory from Gerard Farres Guell and Diego Gil, and Xavier de Soultrait and Martin Bonnet.
Overall Truck top three, Janus van Kasteren, Darek Rodewald and Marcel Snijders’s Iveco once again beat Ales Loprais’ Praga and Martin Macik’s Iveco to behemoth victory. And Marcelo Medeiros took another Quad win from Juraj Varga and Manuel Andujar.
Dakar Day 3 on Monday sees another gruelling 438 km of racing with a little more sand and dunes en route on the 733 km route to Al Salamiya.
Issued on behalf of Dakar 2024 Daily News
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