Tuesday’s eighth Dakar Rally 2022 proved the best ever from a South African point of view. Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy led teammates Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings and overall leaders Nasser Al Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel to a delightful Gazoo Toyota Hilux 1-2-3.
Al Attiyah and Baumel meanwhile consolidated their rally lead, while several other South African car and bike crews impressed. Honda rider Jose Florimo won the bike day as Mattias Walkner moved ahead overall for KTM.
It was a purple day on the Dakar time sheets for the Proudly South African team. Lategan and Cummings led the way early on, before de Villiers and Murphy took over up front after 120 km of the mountainous 287 km romp around Wadi Ad-Dawasir.
Giniel went on to take his 18th Dakar stage win by just nine seconds from Henk. Attiyah and Baumel came home a minute adrift, with Monday’s winners Audi RS Q e-Tron rookies Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist next home. Sebastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin’s BRX Hunter was fifth.
It was a good day all round for South African crews. Brian Baragwanath and Leonard Cremer’s made in SA Century CR6 was 9th, Shameer Variawa and Danie Stassen’s Gazoo Hilux 11th. Three more all-South African Century CR6s, Chris Visser and Rodney Burke ended 27th, Ernest Roberts and Henry Kohne 37th, and Schalk Burger and Henk Janse van Vuuren 44th.
SA navigators, Taye Perry ended 23rd alongside bike legend Cyril Despres in a Peugeot and Ryan Bland 44th with Daniel Schroder in their SA-built Red-Lined VK 50.
Overall, Al Attiyah and Baumel opened their overall advantage over Loeb and Lurquin, who escaped a time penalty for losing a spare wheel in the desert on Monday with a fine, to almost 40 minutes. Saudi home hero Yazeed Al Rajhi and Michael Orr’s Hilux sat a further 19 minutes adrift in third.
De Villiers and Murphy meanwhile jumped two more places up to fifth, just nine minutes behind Orlando Terranova and Daniel Carreras’ BRX Hunter. Variyawa and Stassen sit 14th, Baragwanath and Cremer 16th.
Tuesday’s bike stage proved a straight fight between Honda teammates, Chilean Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo and Californian Ricky Brabec, who swapped the lead a few times through the day.
Cornejo won, but KTM’s Argentine Honda refugee Kevin Benavides sneaked into second ahead of Brabec late in the day. Another factory KTM man, Mattias Walkner rode in fourth ahead of Spain’s Juan Barreda Bort’s Honda and American Andrew Short’s Yamaha.
Overnight leader Sam Sunderland had a tough day in 14th, eight minutes off Flormino’s pace. Which means that he now slips to second, two minutes behind Walkner. Yamaha’s Adrien van Beveren, Honda rider Pablo Quintanilla, Benavides and Barreda are all close enough to benefit any mistakes up front.
South African super sub Aron Mare ended 21st on his Hero and sits 17th overall. It was not a good day for SA rookie Bradley Cox, losing time as he lost an hour in the stage to come home 90th and slip to 27th overall.
Another SA rookie, Charan Moore was 35th overall and second in the no-service Original class. Botswana’s John Kelly rode home 46th after breaking into the top 40 earlier in the day, and 7th in Original.
They remain fourth and seventh overall in Original. Fellow ‘Malle Moto’ men, Stuart Gregory was 83rd overall and 17th in class and Werner Kennedy 91st overall and 22nd in Original. They sit 12th and 21st overall in Original. Swaziland’s Walter Terblanche ended 82nd on Monday, Mozambican Paulo Oliveira 113rd.
In the other Dakar classes, Pablo Copetti beat Marcelo Medeiros to the quad win as Copetti took a couple of minutes out of overall leader Alex Giroud’s half hour advantage.
Overall leader Austin Jones split Goczal brothers Marek and Michel in the Side by Sides and Seth Quintero beat overall leader Francisco Lopez Contardo to lightweight honours. And the Russians remain unbeaten in the tricks, where Nikolaiev took the day ahead of overall leader Sotnikov.
Tuesday’s 384 km race from Wadi Ad Dawasir to Bisha is said to be one of the fastest of Dakar 2022’s 4,000 km of racing through the Saudi Arabian Desert. The Dakar Rally concludes in Jeddah on Friday.
Issued on behalf of Dakar 2022 Daily News
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