Seth Quintero earned a slice of Dakar Rally history during Stage 10 of the 2022 event as its most decorated competitor took the overall checkered flag Wednesday.
Stephane Peterhansel, the 14-time winner known as “Mr. Dakar,” won the car category in the 759-kilometer segment from Wadi Ad-Dawasir to Bisha.
Peterhansel finished more than 2 minutes ahead of Audi teammate Carlos Sainz, and Orlando Terranova finished third for Bahrain Extreme.
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By triumphing in Stage 10 Peterhansel joined teammates Sainz and Mattias Ekstrom as 2022 Dakar Rally winners, ensuring that Team Audi’s trio of drivers won in the debut of the manufacturer’s hybrid RS Q e-Tron. After a poor opening stage for the Audi trio amid complaints from Sainz that FIA regulations left the electric car underpowered, the team sorted out mechanical gremlins, suspension challenges and weight disadvantages.
“It was a perfect day for us,” Peterhansel said. “No navigation mistakes, no issues. I was waiting for this day. Usually, it’s not my goal to try to win a stage, but this year, it’s special.
“We haven’t had any big mechanicals since the start of the second week, so we’re making good progress and having fun driving the car. I’m not necessarily a stage hunter, but each Audi driver has now won a stage, and that’s fantastic. When Carlos became the first driver to win a Dakar stage in an electric car, it was a milestone, now we confirmed that performance. This is good for morale, not least because it comes after a complicated start to the rally. We need to win in 2023. Failure is not an option.”
🏅 @s_peterhansel has won today's stage, following in the footsteps of his @Audisport teammates, Carlos Sainz and Mattias Ekström, in his new RS Q e-tron. Is the #DakarFuture closer than we think? 🙌 #DakarFuture | #Dakar2022 pic.twitter.com/BFrUB8ozGz
— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) January 12, 2022
With two stages remaining, Nasser Al-Attiyah (who was seventh Wednesday) still holds the overall lead by 32 minutes, 40 seconds over Sebastien Loeb.
“We completed the stage without losing too much time,” said Al-Attiyah, who is trying to notch his fourth overall Dakar Rally championship. “We only conceded a minute to ‘Séb’, so we’ll start in a decent position tomorrow. We had no punctures today, the car was just perfect and Mathieu navigated well. We’re getting there, little by little. I said I didn’t want to take risks, I simply want to set a high pace.
“It’s not over yet, there are still two days to go and even a podium spot will be hard to get. We’ve been thinking of victory since Day 1. We’re not here to win stages. Last year we took seven and finished second, this time we’ve only claimed two and we’re in the lead.”
Said Loeb: “What I’ve been saying from the beginning is that I wanted to give it my all every day and see how it worked out. In terms of raw performance, even if we go full blast, it is hard to open up a gap, as the Audis are always faster and we struggle to match their pace. We’re second now, the gap is too big and the race is no longer in our hands, but we’re still hanging in there.”
Meanwhile, Quintero remained unbeaten for the eighth consecutive stage in light prototype, triumphing by more than 2 minutes over teammate Cristina Gutierrez Herrero.
“It’s nuts,” Quintero said. “I’m mind-blown. I’m going to have a heart attack. You never know. We don’t have our phones in the car, so we can’t look at the times. We try to get a rough gauge at the fuel stops. We lost 3 or 4 minutes trying to find a waypoint that we missed. It’s kind of a mess today, but magically we’re here.
“I’m stoked about it. I’ve got two more stages to go, so we’ll try to go on ticking them off. To tie a record that was set 18 years before I was born is absolutely amazing. I really want to try and make everyone back home proud.”
With his 10th victory in Stage 10 of the 2022 Dakar Rally (nine specials plus the prologue), the San Marcos, California, native tied the event record for stage wins set by Pierre Lartigue during a 17-stage Dakar in 1994.
Though the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team driver is out of class title contention because of his Stage 2 mechanical failure, Quintero, 19, will have two more stages to try to break and extend the record.
Other notable developments Wednesday:
–Austin Jones finished fifth in Stage 10 of the 2022 Dakar Rally, and the American maintained an 11-minute lead in the SSV division.
“It’s been hard,” Jones said. “All these guys are really fast, everyone’s really good this year, everyone’s doing really well. The competition’s hard. My navigator is doing a great job, my team (is) giving me a great car and supporting me every day. It’s not too big of a lead, but as long as we maintain this to the finish, it doesn’t matter if you win by a second or an hour, a win’s a win.”
–Pablo Copetti fell out of contention in Quad, losing nearly eight hours during an eighth-place finish.
–Defending bike winner Kevin Benavides was knocked out of contention by an engine failure.
— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) January 12, 2022
Here are the stage winners and the top three overall in each category after Stage 10 of the 2022 Dakar Rally:
Stage 10 winner: Stephane Peterhansel (FRA), 2:52:43. Overall: 1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Toyota Gazoo Racing, 33:13:37; 2. Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Bahrain Raid Extreme, 33:46:17; 3. Yazeed Al Rajhi (SAU), Overdrive Toyota, 34:09:25.
Stage 10 winner: Toby Price (AUS), 3:05:32: Overall: 1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, 33:27:06; 2. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GasGas Factory Racing, 33:33:05; 3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Monster Energy Honda, 33:33:21. Other U.S. notables: 7. Andrew Short, Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, 34:01:03; 8. Mason Klein, BAS Dakar KTM Racing Team, 34:04:55; 9. Ricky Brabec, Monster Energy Honda, 34:05:11. Withdrew: Skyler Howes, Husqvarna Factory Racing.
Stage 10 winner: Dmitry Sotnikov (RAF), 3:14:15. Overall: 1. Dmitry Sotnikov (RAF), Kamaz-Master 35:58:08; 2. Eduard Nikolaev (RAF), Kamaz-Master, 36:08:26; 3. Anton Shibalov (RAF), Kamaz-Master, 36:42:35.
Stage 10 winner: Seth Quintero (USA), 3:22:11. Overall: 1. Francisco Lopez Contardo (CHL), EKS — South Racing, 39:43:03; 2. Sebastian Eriksson (SWE), EKS — South Racing, 40:38:59; 3. Fernando Alvarez (ESP), South Racing Can-Am, 39:43:03. Notable: 10. Seth Quintero (USA), Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA, 54:42:33.
Stage 10 winner: Rokas Baciuska (LTU), 3:36:55. Overall: 1. Austin Jones (USA), Can-Am Factory South Racing, 40:55:24; 2. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP), Can-Am Factory South Racing, 41:07:18; 3. Michal Goczal (POL), Cobant-Energylandia Rally Team, 41:11:02.
Stage 10 winner: Marcelo Medeiros (BRA), 4:11:04. Overall: 1. Alexandre Giroud (FRA), Yamaha Racing – SMX -Drag’on, 42:21:01; 2. Kamil Wisniewski (POL), Orlen Team, 44:57:47; 3. Francisco Moreno (ARG), Drag’on Rally Team, 45:04:32.