The first non-Kamaz truck is the Iveco Van Janus Van Kasteren, Marcel Snijders and Darek Rodewald (Iveco). Martin Van Den Brink, Bernard Der Children and the Belgian Peter Willemsen (Iveco) finish sixth.
Then anyway. On the very last day of the Dakar, Kamaz’s hegemony was somewhat broken. Sotnikov still won the stage, but Macik (Iveco) stranded in second at 32 seconds from the stage victory. It is the first time in this Dakar that a brand other than Kamaz finished second in a stage. What’s more, the third place also went to another brand. Ignacio Casale (Tatra) finished in third place in the last stage on Friday.
In the final standings, the hegemony of the Russian brand is greater than ever. The prologue and the subsequent twelve stages were all won by Kamaz, who won the Dakar in the trucks for the sixth consecutive time and for the nineteenth time in total.
Martin Van Den Brink, Bernard Der Children and Peter Willemsen finish sixth. This makes Willemsen, who started the Dakar again for the first time since 2019, the best Belgian. Pascal De Baar, Stefan Slootjes and Jan Van Der Vaet (Renault) finish fourteenth. Without that crash in the fourth stage, there might have been more for the trio.
Dave Berghmans, Tom Geuens and Sam Koopman (Iveco) were there again this year like the chickens to assist the official Toyotas and the cars and buggies of Overdrive Racing. Berghmans and co finished 28th.
Dave Ingels also had a serving role in the 44th Dakar together with Johannes Schotanus and Philipp Rettig (MAN). The trio was working as a fast assistance truck on the track for South Racing. Ingels and co finish in 41st place.
Didier Monseu, Emmanuel Eggermont and Edouard Fraipont (MAN) finish 48th. Igor Bouwens, Ulrich Boerboom and Wade Syndiely (Iveco) had to retire just before the rest day when a wheel broke off their truck and Boerboom sustained a hand injury while repairing the damage.
Al-Attiyah wins fourth Dakar in the cars
Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) has won the Dakar in the cars for the fourth time in his career. The Qatari dominated the race from start to finish in the cars. Along the way, he won three stages. Sébastien Loeb and his Belgian co-driver Fabian Lurquin (BRX) finish second at 27:46. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Toyota Hilux Overdrive) finishes third. Stéphane Peterhansel (Audi) won Friday’s last stage in the cars, his second in the Dakar and his 50th in the cars. This equals the record of Ari Vatanen.
Nasser Al-Attiyah came, saw and conquered. Toyota, which, like Prodrive and Audi, started with new cars, wins the most difficult rally in the world for the second time in their existence. The first time was in 2019. Just like then, the Belgian Overdrive Racing now has a significant share in the victory. For Al-Attiyah it is his fourth overall victory in the Dakar.
In 2011, he won the Dakar for the first time, driving a Volkswagen. Al-Attiyah he finished with a 49:41 lead over Giniel De Villiers (Volkswagen). In 2015 he beat the same De Villiers, but then behind the wheel of a MINI. In 2019 he made Toyota and Fortin dance for the first time with his third overall victory. Al-Attiyah then preceded Roma (MINI). 2022 was perhaps the easiest victory for the Qatari. After the prologue he also won the first stage. Later in the first week, he would win a third stage. From that point on, Al-Attiyah could begin to control. During the second week, he never interfered in the battle for the stage win.
Toyota was strong, Pro-drive and Audi were not strong enough and too fragile. Loeb and Lurquin had to do without four-wheel drive almost the entire time during the third stage. At the end of the ride, they were faced with a gap of just over 37 minutes and the race was actually already over. Loeb and Lurquin won two stages with their BRX, Terranova gave his team one stage win. In that respect, it is a better Dakar for Prodrive compared to 2021. Audi did win five stages, but their hybrid car still showed some teething problems, especially in the area of suspension.
Stéphane Peterhansel had a difficult Dakar. After hitting a rock early in the rally, his race was over. Afterwards he put himself in the service of Carlos Sainz. During the second week, Peterhansel surfaced and won a stage. The Frenchman closes the Dakar in beauty by winning the last stage in the cars. With his 50th victory in the cars he equals the record of the Finn Ari Vatanen. Previously, Peterhansel also won 33rd stages in the motorcycles, bringing his total to 83 victories.
Quintero ends Dakar with twelve stage victories
Seth Quintero (OT3) wrote a piece of motorsport history during the 44th Dakar. The American won the prologue and eleven stages, setting his own record with the number of victories in one Dakar. On Thursday, he had already broken Pierre Lartigue’s 28-year record. He won ten stages in 1994. The overall victory in the SSV’s prototypes goes to Francisco Lopez Contardo.
Greater than Kamaz’s dominance in the trucks, and yet the California man doesn’t win the Dakar. During the second stage of the Dakar, Quintero had problems with the differential and lost all chances for the overall victory. That second stage was then won by Guillaume de Mévius, also with an OT3. The buggy of Quintero and De Mévius is made in Belgium and is built in Huy by Overdrive Racing, the team of Jean-Marc Fortin. Quintero sets a record that will be hard to beat with 12 stage wins in the Dakar.
The overall victory in the prototype T3 goes to Francisco Lopez Contardo (Can-Am). At the end of stage two, he took over from Quintero and kept it until Jeddah. The Chilean was very consistent but didn’t win a single stage in this Dakar. After victories in 2019 and 2021, this is his third overall victory in the Dakar in the prototype SSVs. In the final standings, Lopez Contardo precedes his teammate Sebastian Eriksson (Can-Am). Spain’s Cristina Gutierrez Herrero (OT3) finishes third.
In the standard SSV’s class T4, the stage win on Friday went to Rokas Baciuska (Can-Am). The overall win in that class goes to Austin Jones who finished third on Friday and was 4:18 faster than Gerard Farres Guell (Can-Am). The Spaniard took the lead on Thursday but had to give it again to Jones, who thus becomes the overall winner in class T4.
Sunderland wins its second Dakar in motorcycles
Briton Sam Sunderland (GasGas) has won the Dakar in motorcycles for the second time in his career. With one stage win and three second places, Sunderland was the most consistent rider. Chilean Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) fought until the very last gasp, won the final stage, but is 3:27 short in the final score. Matthias Walkner of the official KTM team finishes third. After 2017, it is Sunderland’s second overall victory in the Dakar.
After a very exciting race with numerous plot twists, 32-year-old Sam Sunderland wins his second Dakar in the motorcycle race after 2017. After the second stage, the Briton took the lead and remained in the lead until the sixth stage, before having to give up the lead for a moment to Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha). After Sunderland won the eighth stage, he regained the lead only to lose it again to Walkner and Van Beveren. When the latter lost more than 21 minutes on Thursday, Sunderland took over again.
It is a first for his team GasGas, which asked Sunderland at the eleventh hour if he wanted to ride the Dakar. After Honda broke KTM’s hegemony after 18 years in 2021, KTM’s shadow team wins the Dakar again. Pablo Quintanilla takes second place for Honda. With Walkner there is also an official KTM rider on the podium. The Austrian finishes third. The unfortunate Van Beveren, who let the overall victory slip through his fingers on Thursday, finishes fourth.
Three of the four Belgian motards that started, are allowed to cross the final podium later this day. Among them are two debutants. Jerome Martiny (Husqvarna) finished 35th on Friday. In his first Dakar he finished 30th at 59 seconds from 29th place. For Mikael Despontin (KTM) it was his second Dakar. In 2013, he finished 41st. This year he is 51st. Mathieu Liebaert (KTM) finishes his first Dakar in 57th position.
Walter Roelants (Husqvarna) is the only Belgian motorcyclist who does not make it to the finish. Roelants had a serious fall on Wednesday 5 January, breaking a vertebrae in the back and a neck. He was repatriated to Belgium on Sunday. One week after his fall, he was successfully operated on last Wednesday by doctor Toon Claes. In a few days ‘De Wakke’ will be allowed to leave the hospital.
Wauters looks back on Dakar Classic with satisfaction
Koen Wauters and Pascal Feryn (Toyota) have reached the finish of the Dakar Classic. The duo finished twelfth overall and fourth in their class. Their fellow team members Tom De Leeuw, Cédric Feryn and Bjorn Burgelman (Mercedes) finished eighth overall and won the Dakar Classic in the trucks.
No, he would never do it again. But look, ten years later Koen Wauters did it anyway and signed up for the Dakar Classic with his bosom friend Pascal Feryn. On Friday afternoon, Koen Wauters and Pascal Feryn reached the finish in Jeddah. “We are twelfth overall and we are very satisfied with that,” says Wauters. “We started this adventure without any expectations. We also didn’t know exactly what the regularity match was all about. We will know two weeks later. The end result is much better than we could have ever dreamed. Twelfth overall, fourth in our class and our teammates win the Dakar Classic in the trucks. A very good team performance.”
For two weeks, Wauters enjoyed the desert and the beautiful landscapes. The Dakar Classic is a young competition. This was only the second edition. “There are still many points that the organization could improve upon. The first is that they better split it between the very old vehicles, which can easily handle the kind of trails we’re on now, and make another category for the more robust cars like ours. Because if we’re honest, this Dakar wasn’t heavy enough,” says Koen Wauters. “And dunes should be included in the course anyway. The only dunes we crossed now were on the way to the next test, so as a connection.”
After two weeks of sleeping in the desert, Wauters and his teammates will soon have a real bed in a hotel room. “I’m glad I was able to start the year in such a way. The final conclusion of this Dakar is that we are very satisfied but not completely satisfied. If we were to come back next year, we would have to register in the fastest category, which makes the driving a bit more difficult. We must therefore have equipment on board with which we can calculate the regularity down to the second, so that we can also aim for a higher place in the standings. Maybe even the podium.”
French mechanic dies in accident
The 44th Dakar claimed the life of a French mechanic on the final day of the competition in Saudi Arabia on Friday. During the connecting stage of the twelfth stage, he was involved in a traffic accident with a local vehicle with his assistance car.
The victim Quentin Lavalée was the chief mechanic of the 205 Turbo 16, a competitor in the Dakar Classic category. He was behind the wheel when the accident happened on Friday. His Belgian passenger Maxime Frère was injured but conscious and taken to hospital in Jeddah.