Carl Peters
Sport Editor
2 minute read
13 Jan 2022
06:03

South Africans going strong with two days left in Dakar Rally

Carl Peters

The renowned Dakar Rally moves into the penultimate stage in Saudi Arabia on Thursday with three South Africans in the top 20 of the cars’ standings and one in the top 20 of the bikes’ table.

The renowned Dakar Rally moves into the penultimate stage in Saudi Arabia on Thursday with three South Africans in the top 20 of the cars’ standings and one in the top 20 of the bikes’ table.

Wednesday’s 10th stage of the 4 000 km rally was a 375 km special from Wadi Ad Dawasir to Bisha, and what follows today is a 346 km loop around Bisha that is reported to feature dunes of all shapes and sizes.

Evergreen Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel excelled in yesterday’s stage in his new RS Q e-tron — his 49th Dakar stage win in the car category, one fewer than all-time record-holder Ari Vatanen from Finland.

But Qatari star Nasser Al-Attiyah from South Africa-based Toyota Gazoo Racing remained on course for overall victory in the mighty competition.

A photo of an electric car racing in the Dakar 202
Sainz Carlos and Cruz Lucas of Team Audi Sport racing their all-electric RS Q etron in the Dakar 2022.

He is almost 33 minutes clear of French veteran Sébastien Loeb’s BRX Hunter and 56 minutes ahead of Saudi Arabian Yazeed Al-Rajhi’s Overdrive Toyota vehicle in the top three of the standings with two days of racing left.

The South African challenge has Giniel de Villiers (Toyota Gazoo) sitting sixth overall, Shameer Variawa (Toyota Gazoo) 14th, Brian Baragwanath (Century Racing) 16th, Christiaan Visser (Century Racing) 27th, Henk Lategan (Toyota Gazoo) 30th, Ernest Roberts (Century Racing) 40th and Schalk Burger (Century Racing) 62nd.

Motorbikes

In the bikes section, Australia’s Toby Price (Red Bull KTM) set the pace yesterday and defending champion Kevin Benavides from Argentina ended the defence of his title when his KTM motorcycle broke down and he retired from the event. Frenchman Adrien van Beveren (Yamaha) is the overall leader.

South Africa’s Aaron Mare came home 16th on Wednesday on his Hero Moto-sports machine and sits 17th overall.

His rookie compatriot, Bradley Cox, finished 30th on the day and lies 27th overall on his Bas Dakar KTM.

There are several more South Africans in other categories of the rally, which ends in Jeddah on Friday.