Sebastien Loeb took victory in the second stage of the Dakar Rally on Monday, and closed the gap on overall leader Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Loeb, a nine-time World Rally champion, rolled through the 339 kilometers / 210.465 miles segment in three hours, 25 minutes to clinch his 15th stage win at Dakar, and first since 2019. The 47-year-old Frenchman provided a debut win for Bahrain Raid Xtreme, ending 3m28s ahead of runner-up Al-Attiyah.
Additionally, the Prodrive Hunter driven by Loeb made history by becoming the first car to win a stage of the Dakar rally powered by a sustainable fuel. The vehicle runs on Prodrive EcoPower, which which is made from agricultural waste and reduces CO2 emissions by 80 percent compared to petrol.
“It was a real battle as Nasser was pushing very hard over the sand as he was opening the stage and really fast,” Loeb said. “We pushed hard like we were on a WRC rally for 340km, so it was exciting and really tough, but we have a fantastic result at the end. Towards the end of the stage Nasser and I were driving together through the dunes, but then there were a lot of stones so I tried to lead so I could pick the line and try to avoid a puncture so we could finish the stage well, as yesterday I had two flats.
“It was not such a big question of navigation today ,as the line was really clear to see for Fabian and me. It’s a fantastic result for BRX, and proof of the benefits of sustainable fuel for such long distance events. After an enormous amount of work by so many people over so many months, we are proud to take this debut stage for the team.”
Al-Attiyay, a three-time Dakar champion driving for Toyota Gazoo Racing, saw his overall lead tighten to just 9m16s over Loeb.
Another three-time Dakar champion, Carlos Sainz, rebounded from his opening day navigational struggles to finish third on the day for Team Audi Sport. Although he moved within the top 30 overall, the Spaniard remains over two hours behind the top spot
Joan Barreda Bort bested his rivals in bikes to claim a second stage win, riding the sands with Monster Energy Honda in 3h31m20s. The Spaniard sits 10th after the stage victory, but trails class leader Sam Sunderland, who finished runner-up on the day, by 20m25s.
Skyler Howes led the way for Americans on the second day, with a fourth-place finish. Andrew Short finished ninth, while 2020 winner Ricky Brabac crossed the line in 15th. On the overall class leaderboard, Howes sits fifth, 9m59s behind Sunderland. Short is 16th, just ahead of Brabac in 19th.
“I don’t think I had a difficult day today, I didn’t really make any mistakes,” Brabac said. “It was a very cold day. I started quite far back and for me it was like a motocross track, no navigation. I had a lot of lines to follow. The hardest part was riding in the wet sand with the big ruts that had been made by the bikes that had gone out in front. It was a very fast stage.
“We started to get into the sand dunes and it was a physical day. It’s only the second day… let’s hope we have energy at the end of the rally! We will keep pushing for the next few days because we are really far behind. Yesterday 90 percent of the competitors got lost with some notes that didn’t make sense and today I had another problem like that. The Dakar is tough.
— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) January 3, 2022
Despite winning Stage 1 in the lightweight prototypes, American Seth Quintero fell victim to mechanical woes in Stage 2, which was won by Guillaume de Mevius. In SSV, American Austin Jones took over the overall class lead by 1m52s after winning the second stage.
Tuesday will feature a third stage that extends 255 kilometers / 158.45 miles from Al Artawiyah to Al Qaysumah.
2022 Dakar Rally Standings after Stage 2
CAR TOP 5
- N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) TOYOTA 06:59:21
- S. LOEB (FRA) BRX +09:16
- L. ALVAREZ (ARG) TOYOTA +40:53
- G. DE VILLIERS (ZAF) TOYOTA +41:22
- V. VASILYEV (RUS) VRT +43:39
BIKE TOP 5
- S. SUNDERLAND (GBR) GAS GAS 08:31:29
- A. VAN BEVEREN (FRA) YAMAHA +02:51
- D. SANDERS (AUS) GAS GAS +03:29
- M. WALKNER (AUT) KTM +04:08
- S. HOWES (USA) HUSQVARNA +09:59
TRUCK TOP 5
- D. SOTNIKOV (RUS) KAMAZ 07:59:07
- E. NIKOLAEV (RUS) KAMAZ +02:07
- A. KARGINOV (RUS) KAMAZ +18:34
- A. SHIBALOV (RUS) KAMAZ +22:43
- A. LOPRAIS (CZE) PRAGA +31:11
LIGHTWEIGHT PROTOTYPE (T3) TOP 5
- F. LOPEZ CONTARDO (CHL) CAN-AM 08:30:15
- S. ERIKSSON (SWE) CAN-AM +07:22
- P. LEBEDEV (RUS) CAN-AM +23:48
- C. GUTIERREZ (ESP) OT3 +42:45
- P. PINCHEDEZ (FRA) PINCH +48:19