Dakar Rally 2022, Stage 9: Seth Quintero on cusp of win record; Americans charging

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Seth Quintero scored his seventh consecutive victory during Stage 9 of the 2022 Dakar Rally, leading a solid Tuesday for surging Americans in the Saudi Arabian desert.

Quintero finished just over 2 minutes ahead of teammate Cristina Gutierrez Herrero. By winning the 491-kilometer loop around Al Dawadimi in light prototype, the San Marcos, California, native has nine victories — one short of the record set by Pierre Lartigue during a 17-stage Dakar in 1994.

With three stages remaining, Quintero, 19, will have ample opportunity to break the mark in his OT3-02 — though the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team driver is out of contention for the class title because of a Stage 2 mechanical failure. He has won every stage since then, embodying his “never give up” attitude (which he detailed in this recent interview with NBC Sports).

DAKAR RALLY ON NBC: How to watch nightly coverage at the Olympic Channel

NEVER GIVE UP: Seth Quintero focused on breaking Dakar Rally stage win record

“We had a smooth day,” Quintero said Tuesday. “A really rocky day, so we were trying to not get a flat tire. Definitely, I drove pretty consistently and conservatively. There are no team orders out here, we’re definitely fighting for our own goals. Cristina is still in the game for the overall, so hopefully, she keeps on climbing up those ranks, and obviously I’m in the hunt to break the record for the most stage wins.

“We’ve got a few stages to go and we need a few more to break the record, so hopefully we can get them and click that record off. Cristina is a very fast, consistent and smooth driver. She really doesn’t make any mistakes so it’s not going to be easy for us to try to break that record. There are fifty other people in this class that can obviously win the race. Everyone in this class is a stellar driver. It’s definitely not going to be easy, but I hope that we can get it done.”

An American class champion at the 2022 Dakar Rally still is a strong possibility after Stage 9. In SSV, Austin Jones expanded his overall lead to 14 minutes with a runner-up finish Tuesday. In Quad, Pablo Copetti, who was born in Argentina and became a U.S. citizen two years ago, scored a victory and is 24 minutes behind Alexandre Giroud.

“I will take risks,” Copetti said. “I need to reduce the gap and I want the win. The only way to win is just to try to reduce the gap so I have to go full gas.”

In the bike category, 2020 champion Ricky Brabec finished third in Stage 9 and improved to 12th overall, 35 minutes off leader Matthias Walkner. Brabec, the first American to win a Dakar class title, is surging again in the second week after finishing first and second at Dakar in Saudi Arabia the past two years.

In the car division, three-time Dakar Rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah maintained a comfortable lead of nearly 40 minutes with a third place. Giniel de Villiers won in Stage 9 of the 2022 Dakar Rally for his first podium this year.

“Today we had another really good run, without any big bushes,” Al-Attiyah said. “Now we also have a good lead, so we are quite happy. Toyota have looked in good shape today, with first, second and third. The BF Goodrich tires are really working very well today because it was a mix of stones, gravel and sand.

“We are quite happy to have this good run every day. It’s not easy but we are happy to be coming close to the finish in Jeddah.”

Here are the stage winners and the top three overall in each category after Stage 9 of the 2022 Dakar Rally:

Car

Stage 9 winner: Giniel De Villiers (ZAF), 2:23:08. Overall: 1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Toyota Gazoo Racing, 30:10:04; 2. Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Bahrain Raid Extreme, 30:49:09; 3. Yazeed Al Rajhi (SAU), Overdrive Toyota, 31:08:48.

Bike

Stage 9 winner: Nacho Cornejo (CHL), 2:29:30: Overall: 1. Matthias Walkner (AUS), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 30:14:03; 2. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GasGas Factory Racing, 30:16:15; 3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, 30:17:59. Other U.S. notables: 10. Andrew Short, Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, 30:49:02; 12. Ricky Brabec, Monster Energy Honda, 30:49:57; 13. Mason Klein, BAS Dakar KTM Racing Team, 30:51:27. Withdrew: Skyler Howes, Husqvarna Factory Racing.

Truck

Stage 9 winner: Eduard Nikolaev (RAF), 2:38:43. Overall: 1. Dmitry Sotnikov (RAF), Kamaz-Master 32:43:53; 2. Eduard Nikolaev (RAF), Kamaz-Master, 32:52:44; 3. Anton Shibalov (RAF), Kamaz-Master, 33:25:11.

Light prototype

Stage 9 winner: Seth Quintero (USA), 2:50:04. Overall: 1. Francisco Lopez Contardo (CHL), EKS — South Racing, 35:47:12; 2. Sebastian Eriksson (SWE), EKS — South Racing, 37:07:03; 3. Fernando Alvarez (ESP), South Racing Can-Am, 38:53:33. Notable: 8. Seth Quintero (USA), Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA, 51:20:22.

SSV

Stage 9 winner: Marek Goczal (POL), 3:00:52. Overall: 1. Austin Jones (USA), Can-Am Factory South Racing, 37:14:28; 2. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP), Can-Am Factory South Racing, 37:28:15; 3. Michal Goczal (POL), Cobant-Energylandia Rally Team, 37:30:55.

Quad

Stage 9 winner: Pablo Copetti (USA), 3:18:58. Overall: 1. Alexandre Giroud (FRA), Yamaha Racing – SMX -Drag’on, 38:06:16; 2. Pablo Copetti (USA), Del Amo Motorsports/Yamaha Rally Team, 38:30:47; 3. Kamil Wisniewski (POL), Orlen Team, 40:44:18.


PAST RECAPS

DAY 1: Nasser Al-Attiyah takes overall lead as Audi drivers struggle

DAY 2: Sebastien Loeb wins; Austin Jones takes SSV lead

DAY 3: Led by Seth Quintero’s rebound victory, U.S. drivers and riders shine

DAY 4: Overall leader Nasser Al-Attiyah wins stage after penalty

DAY 5: Petrucci becomes first MotoGP veteran to win bike stage at Dakar

DAY 6: Quintero continues impressive win streak in lightweight prototype

DAY 7: Loeb wins in overall; Jones retakes SSV lead

DAY 8: DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom wins first stage

Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series triples to 34 races in 2023

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023
Xtreme Outlaw Series
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After hosting 10 rounds in 2022, the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series 2023 schedule will more than triple to 34 races. The 2022 season featured seven different winners in the first seven races, a female racer in Jade Avedisian as the only repeat winner and Zach Daum as the champion.

“Dirt Midget racing is a growing entity in American motorsports, and the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota is proud to drive further into the growth of the division with both a diverse and lucrative schedule for 2023,” newly appointed Series Director Tyler Bachman said in a press release. “From the kickoff at our first indoor event, to each of the new tracks we’re set to visit next year, it’s a lineup we know both our teams and fans will enjoy.”

The championship purse fund has also more than double with an increase of $42,000 to $80,000 in 2023. The champion will win $25,000. Last year, Daum pocketed $10,000.

In addition, the series will offer tow money to the top 12 in points. Six drivers attempted to qualify for all 10 races in 2022 with 89 drivers attending.

The series will begin on March 10 at Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill. and end the same place it did in 2022 at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City on October 15.

During the season, they will visit 21 tracks in 10 states.

Some highlights of the season include the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series pairing up with the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars in 2023 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. in April for the Outlaw Showdown and again in August for the Ironman 55 weekend, as well as the creation of a five-day Midget Speedweek.

The Midget Speedweek will immediately follow the Ironman 55 with a swing through Pennsylvania and New York.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023 Schedule

Friday, March 10 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Saturday, March 11 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Friday, March 31 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.

Saturday, April 1 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.
Friday, April 14 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Saturday, April 15 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.

Friday, May 5 | Humboldt Speedway | Humboldt, Kan.
Saturday, May 6 | 81 Speedway | Park City, Kan.
Tuesday, May 23 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.
Wednesday, May 24 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.

Thursday, June 1 | Tri-City Speedway | Pontoon Beach, Ill.
Friday, June 2 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.
Saturday, June 3 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.

Friday, July 21 | TBA
Saturday, July 22 | Southern Illinois Raceway | Marion, Ill.
Friday, July 28 | TBA
Saturday, July 29 | Atomic Speedway | Chillicothe, Ohio
Sunday, July 30 | Brushcreek Motorsports Complex | Peebles, Ohio

Friday, August 4 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Sat, August 5 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Tuesday, August 8 | Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway | Newmanstown, Pa.
Wednesday, August 9 | Action Track USA | Kutztown, Pa.
Thursday, August 10 | Linda’s Speedway | Jonestown, Pa.
Friday, August 11 | TBA
Saturday, August 12 | Bridgeport Motorsports Park | Swedesboro, N.J.
Friday, August 25 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa
Saturday, August 26 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa

Friday, September 1 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Saturday, September 2 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Friday, September 15 | Jacksonville Speedway | Jacksonville, Ill.
Saturday, September 16 | Red Hill Raceway | Sumner, Ill.

Friday, October 13 | Port City Raceway | Tulsa, Okla.
Saturday, October 14 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sunday, October 15 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.

* Co-sanctioned with POWRi