New Year’s weekend brought the 2022 Dakar Rally to Jeddah along the Red Sea. Four-hundred nine vehicles left scrutineering bound for Ha’il in Northern Saudi Arabia. Action got started with prologue qualifying and stage one. An overnight rain gave way to an early morning mist. The Ha’il terrain included stones, sandy tracks along with high mountain elevations.
In the bike classification, GasGas factory racer Daniel Sanders claimed a stage win with Pablo Quintanilla finishing second on the Monster Energy Honda. Further back in the field, US Yamaha rider Andrew Short finished in 9th position. Ricky Brabec and Skyler Howes finished outside of the top 10.
Nasser Al-Attiyah was back with another career stage win followed by Carlos Sainz. Sainz is piloting an Audi RS Q e-Tron. His teammate Stephane Peterhansel already suffered damage to his electric vehicle, smashing the rear early in the stage. Peterhansel just may have lost his chance to win a Dakar title. The Frenchman has yet to call it quits.
Seth Quintero scored a big stage win in the Light Prototype classification. Quintero is on the Red Bull Junior Team. His teammate, Mitch Guthrie Jr was forced to withdraw from the rally after testing positive for COVID-19.
The next stage of the Rally takes competitors to Al-Artawiya.
Photos courtesy of A.S.O.