Terranova joins Dakar stage winners for BRX

Image courtesy of Bahrain Raid Xtreme

Terranova joins Dakar stage winners for BRX

Off Road

Terranova joins Dakar stage winners for BRX


The 44th Dakar Rally added another daily winner in the car ranks on Friday’s sixth stage, ahead of tomorrow’s rest day. Veteran Orlando Terranova, one of the most experienced drivers in the grueling event, led the way in the sands outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to claim his seventh career stage win, but first since 2015. The Argentinean, driving a Prodrive Hunter T1 this year for Bahrain Raid Xtreme, finished one minute ahead of the Audi driven by Mattias Ekstrom.

“It was a difficult stage because there were the tracks of the bikes, but some went in the wrong direction, so we had to stay very focused,” said Terranova. “It wasn’t simple to overtake the other cars on the very fast first part — everybody was driving very fast. At the neutralized zone, we felt that we were doing a good job, so we pushed harder on the second part. The sand was very soft, so it was very complicated to drive on.

“In the end, we won the stage and that’s a great feeling. The car is fantastic and we are going to carry on pushing because we know that there is still a long way to go and that we can put in some fine performances.”

Toyota team leader Nasser Al-Attiyah ranked only 10th today but reached the rest day with his biggest overall lead yet, now a full 48 minutes over teammate Yazeed Al Rajhi and 50m over Terranova’s BRX teammate Sebastien Loeb, his two nearest pursuers. As Al-Attiyah knows all too well, though, no lead is safe on the Dakar.

“We tried to push from the beginning, but some drivers made some mistakes,” he noted. “I saw that some drivers had gone too far right, but that was not our problem. Mathieu (Jaminet, co-driver) did a good job — he was really careful to avoid making any mistakes.

“We will try to manage next week without any risks. For victory, it is difficult to say — the Dakar is the Dakar, but we need to be careful and we need to be strong all the way. We need to have a good pace without any relaxing, because when you relax you make a mistake.”

Although his chances of a class win likely vanished early on with long delay to a mechanical failure, America’s Seth Quintero continued his march toward potential record-breaking Dakar Rally by scoring his sixth special stage win in the Light Prototype T3 class. The 19-year-old Red Bull Junior rider’s latest charge might have been his most impressive yet, in the circumstances:

“That was, for sure, some of the scariest driving I have ever done,” admitted Quintero. “At the refueling we saw that there was brake fluid everywhere. I ended up losing the brakes a few kilometers after refuelling. So, we did the whole last 150 km without any brakes — absolutely no brakes. Going through the dunes with no brake pedal at all was pretty scary. Besides losing the brakes, I think we ended up breaking the rear diff, so we ended up on two-wheel drive.

“Somehow, we managed to do it and it looks like right now that we may have got the win, which is absolutely nuts with no brakes — I’m super stoked about that. That’s number six and we’re going to keep on chugging along, we’re going to keep on picking them off and we’ve got a few more to go. I heard that the record was 10 in a 17-stage long Dakar, so it’s going to be tough to beat 10 in a 12-stage long Dakar, but we’ll try to manage!”

Andrey Karginov took his third stage win in the Truck class. The Russian, who dominated the category in the 2020 Dakar, is trying as hard as possible to claw back the 1h30m he lost stuck in the mud on stage 4. However, he has only regained nine seconds on Kamaz teammates Dmitry Sotnikov — the current overall leader — and 45s on Eduard Nikolaev.

Marek Goczal wins his third stage of the rally in SSV, having held steady until the finishing line on the special. The Pole finished more than three minutes ahead of Rodrigo Luppi De Oliveira, but the Brazilian is still on top of the general rankings, with a lead of six minutes over America’s Austin Jones (who was fifth today) and 28m over Michal Goczal, Marek’s brother.

The bike and quad special was halted at the first neutralization area after 101 km as the deterioration of the tracks due to the passage of the cars and trucks yesterday, combined with recent heavy rain made the route impassable. Daniel Sanders headed home overall leaders Sam Sunderlund and Matthias Walkner in the abbreviated stage, leaving the British GasGas rider a scant 2m39s clear of the Austrian at the rest day.

“It looks like the rally really starts in the second week,” the Red Bull KTM rider warned.