Dakar 2024 – Stage 7 Highlights

DAY 10: Stage 7 – January 14, 2024 – Route: Riyadh > Al Duwadimi – Liaison 390km and Special 483km

– American Mitch Guthrie Jr. consolidated his place at the top of the Challenger class standings on Sunday when he claimed victory on Stage 7 by five minutes and 38 seconds from Lithuanian rival Rokas Baciuška, who has given himself a shot of reaching the overall podium after a tough start at the 46th Dakar edition. Guthrie Jr., 27, said: “It was nice to have clean air in front of us so me and Kellon (Walch) could finally have some time to navigate… and no dust today. I’m happy to get to the finish.”

– Guthrie Jr.’s fellow Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team driver Cristina Gutiérrez excelled again with the gap between the two Taurus drivers now at 33m36s with Chaleco López’s Can-Am a further 6m20s behind in third, while defending champion Austin ‘AJ Jones led for most of the stage before an issue at the 427km mark saw the Can-Am driver concede half an hour to the chasing pack back in fourth spot overall.

– In the Ultimate car category, the convoy got straight back to business on a 483-kilometre timed stage which took in a dizzying maze of desert canyons on the route between Riyadh and Al Duwadimi. Frenchman Sébastien Loeb made it back-to-back stage wins and took 10 minutes out of race leader Carlos Sainz, the gap between the two former WRC winners now standing at 19 minutes as Toyota GR DKR Hilux driver Lucas Moraes lies poised in third ready for any mistakes from them. Loeb, 49, said: “We were the first car and the navigation was really tricky, but we didn’t make any big mistakes. We had to make the line for the rest, but sometimes that’s better because you stay really concentrated.”

– Defending bike champion Kevin Benavides took seven minutes out of Ricky Brabec’s overall lead, moving to fifth overall and 21 minutes and 39 seconds off top spot for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing as younger brother Luciano finished second on the day behind Chilean José Ignacio Cornejo Florimo. The Argentine, 35, said: “It was a tough stage. A lot of navigation over camel grass and stoney ground. I did good work with Luciano in finding the way. We need to continue like this until the end.”

– Monday’s 458-kilometre timed special stage on Stage Eight between Al Duwadimi and Ha’il sees stones replace sand as the dominant terrain, so the convoy will be on high alert over the rocks for punctures.

2024 Dakar Rally overall standings after Stage 7

Ultimate Car

1. Carlos Sainz (ESP) 30h 06m 42s
2. Sébastien Loeb (FRA) +19m 00s
3. Lucas Moraes (BRA) +1h 00m 35s

Challenger Car

1. Mitch Guthrie Jr. (USA) 33h 29m 29s
2. Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP) +33m 36s
3. Francisco López Contardo (CHI) +40m 16s


1. Ricky Brabec (USA) 32h 37m 20s
2. Ross Branch (BWA) +1s
3. José Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (CHI) +6m 48s

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