Dakar 2024 – Stage 10 Highlights

DAY 13: Stage 10 – January 17, 2024 Route: AlUla > AlUla – Liaison 241km and Special 371km

With just three stages left at the start of Wednesday, there were plenty of challenges on the loop around the Stage 10 AlUla bivouac with the primary concern for competitors on four wheels – avoiding punctures. Brazilian Lucas Moraes was the best placed of the Ultimate podium challengers in 12th with Frenchman Sébastien Loeb cutting into leader Carlos Sainz’s advantage by seven minutes despite complications while changing his wheels. Loeb, who lies just 13m22s behind the Spaniard with two stages left, said: “We had two punctures. [To change the wheels] we had to climb among the rocks to find a way to be able to lift a rear tyre. I guess we lost about 15 minutes for this.”

– Three-time winner Sainz’s fellow Audi RS Q e-tron teammates may well have earned him a fourth Dakar title as he needed to borrow a spare tyre off Swede Mattias Ekström or he could have ended up waiting hours on the stage for his support truck. Fourteen-time Dakar champion Stéphane Peterhansel underlined the importance of this team support when he said: “We started with two punctures really quickly so this why we were not so fast. At the end Mattias arrived to Carlos because Carlos had three punctures and Mattias gave Carlos one or two wheels. Without these wheels, for sure, Carlos would be waiting a long time for the truck. That’s why it’s good to have three cars in the race.”

– Mitch Guthrie Jr. survived another day with a Challenger class lead as Spaniard Cristina Gutiérrez could only take 32 seconds out of the American as she prepares to take on the 2025 Dakar in the Ultimate category with the duo finishing fifth and sixth respectively and Lithuanian Rokas Baciuška just ahead of them in fourth. Gutiérrez, 32, admitted: “The stage was not very good for us. We had two punctures in the first 200km, so that forced me to slow down a lot.” Guthrie Jr., 27, added: “We started to lose the brakes about 100k from the end. We managed that until the finish line.”

– Australian Daniel Sanders enjoyed a good day on two wheels, finishing just 47 seconds behind American Ricky Brabec who extended his bike lead to 10m54s with Thursday’s Stage 11 back to Yanbu and Friday’s Stage 12 finale left in this 46th edition of the race. Just behind Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing rider Sanders was Argentine Luciano Benavides in sixth, his older brother Kevin Benavides in eighth and Sanders’ compatriot Toby Price rounding out the top 10 on the stage. After finishing fourth in 2021, Sanders, 29, said: “I feel like I nailed a couple of notes that some people missed and maybe that’s helped me to claw back some time. I’m happy to bounce back for once.”

– Thursday’s penultimate Stage 11 sets a timed route of 480 kilometres between AlUla and Yanbu with extreme distance, dangerous rocks and a host of navigation puzzles testing the convoy further.

2024 Dakar Rally overall standings after Stage 10
Ultimate Car
1. Carlos Sainz (ESP) 41h 35m 12s
2. Sébastien Loeb (FRA) +13m 22s
3. Lucas Moraes (BRA) +1h 02m 44s
Challenger Car
1. Mitch Guthrie Jr. (USA) 46h 01m 50s
2. Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP) +28m 03s
3. Francisco López Contardo (CHI) +1h 13m 48s
1. Ricky Brabec (USA) 44h 45m 28s
2. Ross Branch (BWA) +10m 54s
3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA) +11m 46s

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