Dakar Rally 2022, Day 2: Sebastien Loeb wins as Al-Attiyah keeps lead; Jones first in SSV

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Seeking his first Dakar Rally victory, Sebastien Loeb won on Day 2 while an American won a stage for the second consecutive day in the 2022 event.

Loeb, a nine-time World Rally champion, covered the 339-kilometer segment around Al-Artawiyah, Saudi Arabia, in three hours and 25 minutes and moved within 10 minutes of overall leader Nasser Al-Attiyah, who finished second in Stage 2. Lucio Alvarez was third overall.

“It was a real tussle between Nasser and myself today,” Loeb said after his 15th Dakar stage win and first for the Bahrain Raid Extreme team. “He was opening the road and was really pushing for all 340km. By the end of the stage I had caught him.”

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Said Al-Attiyah: “We were able to go fast today and we always enjoy that. I think this will be an extremely fast Dakar all the way to the end. The performance of our T1+ is really fantastic.”

After a rough start, three-time Dakar Rally champion Carlos Sainz rebounded by finishing third in his Audi (5 minutes, 52 seconds behind Loeb). The Spaniard moved into the top 30 but still is more than two hours off Al-Attiyah’s overall lead after getting lost on the opening day.

In the SSV class, Austin Jones moved into the overall lead by 2 minutes, 28 seconds after a victory in Stage 2. Fellow American Seth Quintero suffered mechanical problems and fell from the top three in lightweight prototype after winning Stage 1.

In the bikes, Sam Sunderland moved into the overall lead as Joan Barreda Bort won on Day 2. American Skyler Howes trails by just under 10 minutes in fifth after a fourth place in Stage 2 (missing the podium by 22 seconds).

Here are the top three in each category after Day 2:

Car

Stage 2 winner: Sebastien Loeb (FRA), 3:25:00. Overall: 1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Toyota Gazoo Racing, 6:59:21; 2. Loeb, Bahrain Raid Extreme, 7:08:37; 3. Lucio Alvarez (ARG), Overdrive Toyota, 7:40:14.

Bike

Stage 2 winner: Joan Barreda Bort (ESP), 3:31:20. Overall: 1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GasGas Factory Racing, 8:31:29; 2. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, 8:34:20; 3. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GasGas Factory Racing, 8:34:58. Other U.S. notables: 5. Skyler Howes, Husqvarna Factory Racing, 8:41:28; 14. Mason Klein, BAS Dakar KTM Racing Team, 9:03:55; 16. Andrew Short, Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, 9:07:28; 22. Ricky Brabec, Monster Energy Honda, 9:25:20.

Truck

Stage 2 winner: Andrey Karginov (RAF), 3:52:07. Overall: 1. Dmitry Sotnikov (RAF), Kamaz-Master 7:59:07; 2. Eduard Nikolaev (RAF), Kamaz-Master, 8:01:14; 3. Andrey Karginov (RAF), Kamaz-Master, 8:17:41.

Light prototype

Stage 2 winner: Francisco Lopez Contardo (CHL) 4:06:42. Overall: 1. Contardo, EKS — South Racing, 8:30:15; 2. Sebastian Eriksson (SWE), EKS — South Racing, 8:37:37; 3. Pavel Lebedev (RAF) MSK Rally Team, 8:54:03.

SSV

Stage 2 winner: Austin Jones (USA), 4:11:55. Overall: 1. Jones, Can-Am Factory South Racing, 8:51:19; 2. Rodrigo Luppi De Oliveira (BRA), South Racing Can-Am, 8:53:47; Michal Goczal (POL) 8:57:58.

Quad

Stage 2 winner: Manuel Andjuar (ARG) 4:27:51. Overall: 1. Laisvydas Kancius (LTU), Story Racing S.R.O., 10:51:36; 2. Pablo Copetti (USA), Del Amo Motorsports/Yamaha Rally Team, 10:58:08; 3. Alexandre Giroud (FRA), Yamaha Racing – SMX -Drag’on, 11:11:33.

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.