Dakar 2024 – Stage 12 (Final) Highlights

DAY 15: Stage 12 – January 19, 2024 – Route: Yanbu > Yanbu – Liaison 153km and Special 175km

History was made on Friday’s final stage of the 46th Dakar Rally as, for the first-time ever by a car equipped with electric drivetrains, Carlos Sainz’s futuristic Audi RS Q e-tron beat all-comers over the 5,000km of perilous dunes, mountains and canyons in Saudi Arabia. It is the Spanish legend’s fourth Dakar title win with the 61-year-old and his co-driver Lucas Cruz demonstrating when to push for speed and when to switch the strategy. Sainz said: “When you work hard and you believe in yourself, when you have a good team and good people around you, then the work will always pay off. This car is so special. I want to enjoy this victory.”

– With Frenchman Sébastien Loeb third in the Ultimate category, Belgian Guillaume de Mévius banked second behind Sainz in his Toyota Hilux Overdrive alongside co-driver Xavier Panseri at their first rally together. Twenty years ago, De Mévius’s father Grégoire raced against Sainz, now his 29-year-old son is carrying on the family tradition. De Mévius, who became the first driver under 30 to finish on the Ultimate podium since the rally left Africa, said: “We always dreamed about it, but it was not the objective at the beginning of the race. It’s an amazing feeling.”

– The Challenger class provided most of the drama over the final 175-kilometre loop around the Yanbu bivouac as Spaniard Cristina Gutiérrez and co-driver Pablo Moreno started the day 25 minutes off the lead in their Taurus T3 Max, but dug deep to overhaul American Mitch Guthrie Jr. to win her first Dakar title by 36m46s with Lithuanian Rokas Baciuška third. She now becomes the first woman to win a Dakar title since Jutta Kleinschmidt in 2001. After Guthrie Jr. and co-driver Kellon Walch came to a standstill twice on the final stage, Gutiérrez, 32, revealed: “I always try to fight until the finish. We didn’t know what had happened until the last kilometres. We pushed a lot on this stage because I knew that 25 minutes is a lot, but if something happens behind you, you never know.”

– Defending bike champion Kevin Benavides tried bravely to cut into Ricky Brabec’s overall lead in the second week and a Stage 12 victory – his third of the 2024 race – saw him finish fourth overall, 38m48s behind the now two-time Dakar winner. With fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Toby Price in fifth, Benavides admitted: “It was a really tough Dakar with really hard and really long stages. We were on the bike for so many hours each day.” His younger brother Luciano claimed an impressive seventh with Australian Daniel Sanders and Slovakian Štefan Svitko also top 10.

– With the podium competitors and finishers in each category honoured at a podium ceremony in Yanbu, the Dakar has proved yet again to be the greatest challenge that motorsport has to offer as it plunged the convoy into an intense 5,000-km battle through the deserts of Saudi Arabia.

2024 Dakar Rally selected overall standings after Stage 12

Ultimate Car

1. Carlos Sainz (ESP) 48h 15m 18s
2. Guillaume De Mevius (BEL) +1h 20m 25s
3. Sébastien Loeb (FRA) +1h 29m 12s
7. Giniel De Villiers (RSA) +2h 50m 26s
9. Lucas Moraes (BRZ) +3h 03m 12s
15. Laia Sanz (ESP) +4h 53m 46s
26. Mattias Ekström (SWE) +15h 19m 39s
30. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) +17h 25m 12s
42. Seth Quintero (USA) +69h 04m 43s

Challenger Car

1. Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP) 53h 59m 47s
2. Mitch Guthrie Jr. (USA) +36m 46s
3. Rokas Baciuška (LTU) +58m 47s
4. Francisco Lopez Contardo (CHL) +1h 11m 20s
5. Austin Jones (USA) +1h 44m 47s
27. Dania Akeel (SAU) +79h 41m 40s


1. Ricky Brabec (USA) 51h 30m 08s
2. Ross Branch (BWA) +10m 53s
3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA) +12m 25s
4. Kevin Benavides (ARG) +38m 48s
5. Toby Price (AUS) +45m 28s
7. Luciano Benavides (ARG) +53m 31s
8. Daniel Sanders (AUS) +1h 14m 32s
9. Štefan Svitko (SVK) +1h 56m 28s

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