Carlos Sainz held his nerve on the final stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally for his third title after 7,500 km of the world’s most fearsome off-road race, while Ignacio Casale and Andrey Karginov also won at the maiden Saudi Arabia staging.
Here is all you need to know:
– Sainz had car rivals Nasser Al-Attiyah and Stéphane Peterhansel waiting to pounce on any error during the 374 km special stage to the Qiddiya finish from Haradh.
– Qatar’s Al-Attiyah won the last stage, however it was not enough to overhaul the 10-minute lead the Spaniard had built up over the previous 11 stages.
– Sainz and navigator Lucas Cruz finished sixth on the day to put them 6 mins 21s ahead of Toyota driver Al-Attiyah and seal a third Dakar title after Sainz’s 2010 and 2018 wins.
– El Matador revealed: “It makes the victory even nicer when the battle is so tough. On top of that I win in a third different car – I’m very proud of that.”
– Frenchman Peterhansel could not add to his record 13 Dakar titles, but he did claim a podium behind team-mate Sainz thanks to four stage wins in his MINI Buggy.
– 2009 winner Giniel de Villiers finished fifth after a solid second week, while Poland’s Kuba Przygonski also placed high in the latter stages after a tough first week.
– Chilean quad driver Ignacio Casale also made it three Dakar titles, after he stayed close enough to Frenchman Simon Vitse to finish 18 mins 24s ahead with Poland’s Rafal Sonik third.
– Casale, 32, said: “I’m elated because it was a long, gruelling race. I had some problems during the second week, but we solved them as well as we could. We worked hard all year long with the mechanics and now I can celebrate this win. Thanks a lot and Viva Chile!”
– Russian Andrey Karginov added a second truck triumph to his 2014 title after he won an incredible seven stages to forge a huge 42 mins 26s victory over compatriot Anton Shibalov.
– Karginov, 43, admitted: “I am happy that we managed to win. In two weeks we covered thousands of difficult kilometres of tough off-road routes.”
– Team Kamaz Master colleague Dmitry Sotnikov could not complete a 1-2-3 as Belarusian driver Siarhei Viazovich drove well to seal his second Dakar podium.
– Defending bike champion Toby Price’s rollercoaster race ended with third place behind maiden winner Ricky Brabec as the American held off Chilean Pablo Quintanilla by 16 mins 26s.
– Price, 32, said: “It’s not the result we came for but, with the two weeks we’ve had, I’m quite happy to keep my podium streak going. I’ll be back and looking to get the #1 plate again.”
– 2018 champion Matthias Walkner of Austria finished fifth, while Argentine Luciano Benavides produced a career best sixth with Slovakian Stefan Svitko 11th.
– Spaniard Laia Sanz rode well again to finish in 18th as the highest female rider with Austrian sporting legend Martin Freinademetz holding on back in 68th.
– Sanz, 34, enthused: “I’ve started 10 Dakars and I’ve finished all 10. This is something that is really difficult and it’s an achievement I’m very proud of.”
– The bike race will be remembered for the fatal stage seven crash suffered by Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves, who was a much loved and respected rider within the bivouac.
– Chile’s Chaleco Lopez could not defend his SxS title, but he finished strongly to secure third behind maiden American winner Casey Currie with Russian Sergei Kariakin in second.
– Lopez, 44, claimed: “We had a huge problem the day before yesterday, so a podium place isn’t that bad after all. The first edition in Saudi Arabia was interesting.”
– History was made when Frenchman Cyril Despres – alongside Swiss co-driver Mike Horn – became the first Dakar competitor to win stages in three different categories (bike, car and SxS) with Red Bull Off-Road Team USA debuting their OT3 by Overdrive vehicle.
– American Blade Hildebrand finished second on the final stage to wrap up an impressive race that included two stage wins, while fellow Red Bull Off-Road Junior Program member Mitch Guthrie Jr. won three stages to signal a bright future for the talented, young duo.
– Hildebrand declared: “There’s still a lot work to go into this program to get it to where we want it to be, but there were lots of positive steps at this Dakar.”
Top three overall results in each category
1. Carlos Sainz (ESP)/Lucas Cruz (ESP) MINI Buggy 42h 59m 17s
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota +6m 21s
3. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) MINI Buggy +9m 58s
1. Ricky Brabec (USA) Honda 40h 02m 36s
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna +16m 26s
3. Toby Price (AUS) KTM +24m 06s
1. Andrey Karginov (RUS) Kamaz 46h 33m 36s
2. Anton Shibalov (RUS) Kamaz +42m 26s
3. Siarhei Viazovich (BLR) Maz +02h 04m 42s
1. Casey Currie (USA)/Sean Berriman (USA) Can-Am 53h 25m 52s
2. Sergei Kariakin (RUS)/Anton Vlasiuk (RUS) Can-Am +39m 12s
3. Chaleco Lopez (CHI)/Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre (CHI) Can-Am +52m 36s
1. Ignacio Casale (CHI) Yamaha 52h 04m 39s
2. Simon Vitse (FRA) Yamaha +18m 24s
3. Rafal Sonik (POL) Yamaha +01h 04m 15s
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Red Bull Media House