Dakar: Toyota Trio fastest at 9th stage of the rally-raid


All three first lines in the ninth stage of the rally-raid were taken by the crews of the Toyota Gazoo Racing factory team, and the victory went to Giniel de Villiers, a racer from South Africa, for whom this is already the 20th Dakar.

Or 19th, except in 2008, when the race was canceled at the last moment. But in 2009, when the Dakar took place in South America for the first time, de Villiers won the super marathon in a Volkswagen SUV.

Since then, he has not been able to repeat this success, as he will not succeed now, he loses too much to Nasser Al-Attiy, who plays for the same team, but today Giniel distinguished himself, although he was only 9 seconds ahead of his closest rival. And this is after 287 km of the high-speed special stage, so one can imagine how intense the rivalry was.

The second place was taken by the crew of Henk Lategan, partner and compatriot of de Villiers; Al-Attiyah rounded out the top three. Matthias Ekström, the Audi driver and winner of yesterday’s stage, was fourth on Tuesday, and Sebastien Loeb, who is second in the overall classification, came fifth to the finish line. But since he lost today to Al-Attiyah, it means that his gap with the leader of the race has increased, although only by a minute.

Due to the fact that the next few stages are relatively short, it will be extremely difficult to play 39 minutes of Loeb, and if Al-Attiyah does not let the technique down, or if something unexpected happens, nothing will prevent the Qatari rider from winning the Dakar for the fourth time.

Carlos Sainz finished sixth today, losing just half a minute to Loeb. But the result could have been clearly higher, if not for a puncture of the wheel and a small navigation error.

In the class of trucks, the fastest way to cover the distance of the stage was the KAMAZ-master crew, number 505, i.e. these are Eduard Nikolaev, Evgeny Yakovlev and Vladimir Rybakov. They arrived at the finish two and a half minutes earlier than Dmitry Sotnikov, who retains the lead in the general classification, but his lead is less than nine minutes, so the picture may still change.

And today the trio of Martin Matsik made their way to the third place, losing to Sotnikov’s crew by only three seconds. The Czech Big Shock Racing team is taking part in an IVECO Powerstar truck and, following the results of nine stages, takes 9th place in the general classification.

Among motorcyclists today, the fastest was Chilean José Ignacio Cornejo Florimo, more commonly referred to simply as “Nacho,” the Honda factory team driver. Kevin Benavides on the KTM motorcycle was 1.5 minutes ahead of him. The third place was taken by Florimo’s partner, the most experienced American Ricky Brabeck, but Matthias Valkner, an equally experienced Austrian athlete who also prefers the technique of the Austrian brand KTM, finished fourth – it was he who, according to the results of Tuesday, became the leader in this class, pushing Sam Sunderland to the second place.

In the ATV category, the stage was won by Pablo Copetti, an Argentinean with an American passport, more than six minutes ahead of Alexander Giraud, but the Frenchman continues to lead the class. But it is Copetti who remains the only real rival of Giraud in the fight for victory in the rally-raid of this year, he is 24 minutes behind Giraud, which is also a lot, but the third-place driver Kamil Vishnevsky from Poland has already been losing 2 hours 38 minutes, win back which is simply unrealistic.

Unfortunately, just yesterday the Russian racer Alexander Maksimov announced his retirement from the Dakar race – the engine on his ATV could not withstand the loads of the rally-raid. But before that, Alexander rode quite confidently and even won one of the stages, which is very commendable for a debutant of these super-difficult competitions.

In the T3 class (all-terrain vehicles), the strongest was again the American Seth Quintero, and it’s even surprising that at the end of nine stages, not his crew, but the Chilean Francisco Kontardo was in the lead. But Quintero was very unlucky on the third day of competition when he lost many hours to a broken differential case. The gap was so great that he still occupies only 23rd place in the class, but Seth does not bother: according to him, he pursues his own goals and intends to set a record for the number of victories at stages.

By the way, the Russian duet of Pavel Lebedev and Kirill Shubin is on the fifth place in the class – they also finished the today’s stage fifth.

As we said yesterday, the best Russian crew in the SSV category (light off-road vehicles) retired after a serious accident, but this does not mean that after the departure of Sergey Karjakin there were no representatives of our country left in this class. At the distance of the rally-raid, the fight is still conducted by crew # 465, in which the CAN-AM Marick XRS is piloted by Tatyana Sycheva, and Alexander Alekseev is traveling with her as a navigator.

For them, this is the debut Dakar, and they do not apply for high places, but the very participation in this competition, no matter how difficult, so prestigious, is worth a lot. Today they have shown the 38th result, and in the general classification they occupy 31st place.

The fastest in this class on Tuesday was Pole Marek Gochal, for him this is his fourth victory at the Dakar stages in 2022, but in the general classification he is still fourth, and the American crew of Austin Jones continues to lead, showing the second result today.

On Wednesday, the Dakar participants will have to overcome the 10th stage, its length is 759 km, of which 375 km is a high-speed section. Moreover, it will indeed be high-speed – the nature of the track is conducive to high speeds, but, as the organizers write, “it is worth remembering that excessive haste leads to loss of time, especially when it comes to correct navigation.”


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