Dakar Rally 2024: Carlos Sainz and Audi caress the Dakar Rally after Sébastien Loeb’s breakdown on the penultimate stage | Kinds of sports

Carlos Sainz just needed to get his Audi hybrid to the finish line to complete his fourth Dakar Rally, and he did it. He was going to win the stage, but in the final stretch of the penultimate special test he did not take unnecessary risks, he used pragmatism and settled in third place, 5 minutes 35 seconds behind the stage winner, Toyota Guerlain Chicherit (4 hours 43 minutes). The 61-year-old from Madrid still has to complete the 175-kilometer route this Friday on the Red Sea coast to become the oldest test winner for the third time.

Your mechanics will be tightening all the nuts tonight and will probably not pay attention to so many accumulated nerves. Only failure, fatality, which, unfortunately, is not alien to him, prevented him from completing the project of the German brand with victory. The builder’s plan is to say goodbye to a million-dollar outlay after just three or so years of work, and thus be able to boast that in such a short time he built the first car with electric motors charged with, yes, monster gasoline. engine – which will drive the toughest rally on the planet. For Sainz this will be the fourth victory under another brand after Volkswagen (2010), Peugeot (2018) and Mini (2020), always close to Barcelona’s Lucas Cruz, with whom he has competed in 12 of his 17 appearances.

The red carpet was rolled out by Sebastien Loeb due to a mechanical failure on his BRX Prodrive. At kilometer 132 of the planned 420 on the scree between AlUla and Yanbu, the nine-time world rally champion hit his Hunter hard and broke the car’s right front fork. In desperation, he tried to correct the irreparable until he raised a white flag calling on his people. He needed a team support truck to deliver spare parts before he even left the starting line. Fortunately, when he was already asking to remove the helicopter from testing, a private Hunter, owned by the Chinese Zi Yongyan, came to his aid: in a gesture that received thunderous applause, he handed over the necessary parts to repair the suspension. In the operation, between one and the other, there was an hour and a quarter left and practically all the possibilities of victory.

The sudden outcome avoided the drama the organization expected in an expected outcome among the jagged rocks on the road to Yanbu, a scenario that would crown Sainz a living motorsport legend if things went wrong at the last minute. Having completed the stage without major setbacks and having overtaken his opponent at full speed at the scene, he has an advantage of over an hour over his closest pursuer, which is yet to be determined as not all the leading cars completed the stage. .

“Everything went well, we only had one puncture at the end. When we saw that Seb had stopped, we drove more carefully and took it very calmly,” the Spaniard commented, still cautious. “There are 175 kilometers left before the race, and I know very well that in this rally you need to bring the car to the end. If I have them more than an hour away, it’s clear that I won’t be in a hurry.” Loeb, who saw his great rival’s Audi passing, was amused by defeat and warned the Spaniard to slow down and avoid eating the treacherous rocks on the narrow and winding terrain between the great canyons where he ended his career.

Brabec and Honda rejoice at the victory

In the motorcycle category, it looks like there won’t be a repeat of last year’s explosive performance, which beat Kevin Benavidez (KTM) by just 43 seconds, the smallest margin in history. Honda, which has always dominated this strategy in this edition, will hold its third Dakar in Saudi Arabia, promoting Ricky Brabec, its senior rider, for the second time. The 32-year-old American kept Ross Branch (Hiro), the winner of the eleventh stage and his main rival, at bay throughout the race. Thanks to track opening bonuses, he arrives at the Yanbu Circuit with a lead of just over 10 minutes over the Botswana rider.

The Japanese manufacturer’s dominance was stunning, with its riders winning seven of the 11 stages competed, eight including the prologue. Mechanical problems for Chilean Nacho Cornejo effectively ruined plans to attempt a full podium finish this Friday. If the film doesn’t change much, Adrienne Van Beveren will take third place in the category.

You can follow EL PAÍS Deportes at Facebook And Xor register here to receive our weekly newsletter.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button