Red Bull Deseert wings get into gear for final push at ultra-tough Dakar Rally

Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz in the Mini Buggy of the X-Raid Mini JCW Team races during the 10th stage of the Dakar 2021 between Neom and Al-?Ula, in Saudi Arabia on January 13, 2021. // Eric Vargiolu / DPPI / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202101130146 // Usage for editorial use only //

The finish line is almost in sight at the 2021 Dakar Rally, but the challenges left in the road are still significant. Today’s Stage 10 took the remaining competitors from Neom to Al Ula, via a 342km timed special stage. Tomorrow’s penultimate stage is also among the longest of the entire rally, measuring a massive 466km. Let’s find out who is planning one last big move…

Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel

Three-time Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah was able to take a small bite out of Stéphane Peterhansel’s lead on Stage 10. However, the Qatari’s best hopes rest on the mammoth task the Dakar convoy must undertake on the colossal special stage between Al Ula and Yanbu. Al-Attiyah is a sand racing specialist and will be out to erase Peterhansel’s 17-minute advantage on the dunes tomorrow.
« The key to this Dakar will be tomorrow, it’s a really, really difficult stage. » – Nasser Al-Attiyah

Stéphane Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger

Peterhansel and his fellow MINI Buggy driver Carlos Sainz both brought their cars through Stage 10 with times in the Top 5. Defending champion Sainz has held third place in the general classification since Stage Four.
« The first part of the stage had very tricky navigation and we lost quite a bit of time. After that things got better, but it was still not easy because of all the dust. We had to get past six or seven cars. It wasn’t easy. » – Carlos Sainz

Kuba Przygoński lies fourth overall in the car race and if he brings that result home it will match his best ever finish at the Dakar. With tomorrow’s long stage to come – featuring almost 100km of dunes – he’s not yet giving up on the podium.
« We don’t know exactly what to expect tomorrow, but we know it will be hard. » – Kuba Przygoński

Giniel De Villiers

2009 Dakar winner Giniel de Villiers is still in the mix, as is Cyril Despres with explorer/co-driver Mike Horn.
« Wow, wow, wow! I was in a wall of dust all day. Honestly, a really complicated day from the morning. About 400 notes on the roadbook which was quite challenging for my co-driver Mike. » – Cyril Despres

A dramatic moment on Stage 10 came in the bike race when leading contender Nacho Cornejo retired from the rally after crossing the finish line. Medical examination revealed that Cornejo was at risk of concussion following a crash on the stage and was taken by helicopter from the finish line to hospital.

Sam Sunderland

Cornejo’s team-mate Kevin Benavides now leads the rally with another Honda rider – Ricky Brabec – in second. Sam Sunderland of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing is third overall, just 10 minutes off the lead.
« I made quite a few mistakes today which is a bit disappointing. I’m just trying to do my best, as is everybody. » – Sam Sunderland

The make or break nature of tomorrow’s stage is not lost on rookie Daniel Sanders. The Australian KTM biker is sixth overall and could still feature in the final podium shakeup.
« We’ve got a massive day tomorrow so the last 100km I managed to hold back and save a bit of energy. » – Daniel Sanders

Laia Sanz

Matthias Walkner picked up his fifth Top 5 stage result of the rally and would surely be challenging for the win had it not been for a two-hour stoppage on Stage Two. Walkner along with Štefan Svitko, Laia Sanz and rookie Camille Chapelière have all overcome tough days to complete the first 10 stages of this Dakar.
« I got lost at the beginning. Then I was behind the quads and other bikes, nobody would let me past. It was so dangerous, I was completely in the dust for 200km. » – Laia Sanz

Leading the Lightweight Vehicles race and with five stage wins to his name is Chaleco López. There was no stage win today, but from the Chilean’s viewpoint that could work to his advantage tomorrow.
« A difficult day but I’m happy with how we finished. Tomorrow is a long day and I think we have given ourselves a good starting position. » – Chaleco López

Seth Quintero

After gearbox trouble saw him being towed back to the bivouac yesterday, it was back to business for 18-year-old Seth Quintero. The youngest ever stage winner at the Dakar shook off a disappointing Stage Nine to get back on the pace today.
« I got back to the bivouac about 4.30 this morning. The boys got to work getting the car going. Just two minutes before it was my time to leave for today’s stage they said, ‘Get in the car and get out of here! » – Seth Quintero

Quintero was met at the finish line by fellow Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team driver Cristina Gutiérrez.
« The stage today was very beautiful. Yesterday was a very hard day for me because we started at the back of the race. We overtook 37 cars and it was difficult. Today I enjoyed a lot, Francois was great with the navigation and it was a very good day. » – Cristina Gutiérrez

Airat Mardeev (RUS)

Joining Gutiérrez in the Dakar Experience is debutant Mattias Ekström who is still on course to cross the finish line in Jeddah on Friday.

There are no certainties at the Dakar – especially with a 466km timed special stage to come tomorrow – but Kamaz have every chance of making it two wins from two at the Dakar in Saudi Arabia. Currently Kamaz trucker Dmitry Sotnikov leads the race with a gap of over 45 minutes to his team-mate Anton Shibalov in second. Third place Ayrat Mardeev makes it a clean sweep of Kamaz truckers occupying the podium positions.
« The day went well, the main thing is that the team kept its positions in the general classification. » – Ayrat Mardeev

Ignacio Casale

Doing his best to keep pace with the Kamaz drivers is Ignacio Casale who recorded his eighth Top 10 stage result today in the truck race.
« I have been getting more and more comfortable with the truck, especially in this second week. » – Ignacio Casale

And so to tomorrow’s penultimate stage of the 2021 Dakar and 466km against the clock between Al Ula and Yanbu. Who will survive the 100km stretch of dunes and the rest of the potential pitfalls on the stage? Subscribe to the Red Bull Desert Wings newsletter to find out.

Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel

STAGE 10 RESULTS & OVERALLS
CARS
Stage 10 Top 5
1. Y. Al-Rajhi (SAU) – Toyota, 03:03:57
2. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) – Toyota, +00:02:04
3. S. Peterhansel (FRA) – Buggy Mini, +00:02:53
4. C. Sainz (ESP) – Buggy Mini, +00:04:12
5. B. Baragwanath (ZAF) – Century, +00:05:06…

Overall Top 5
1. S. Peterhansel (FRA) – Buggy Mini, 37:33:06
2. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) – Toyota, +00:17:01
3. C. SAINZ (ESP) – Buggy Mini, +01:03:44
4. J. Przygonski (POL) – Toyota, +02:18:43
5. N. Roma (ESP) – BRX Prodrive, +02:50:22…

Matthias Walkner

BIKES
Stage 10 Top 5
1. R. Brabec (USA) – Honda, 03:12:33
2. J. Barreda (ESP) – Honda, +00:03:15
3. K. Benavides (ARG) – HONDA +00:05:11
4. S. Howes (USA) – KTM, +00:05:48
5. M. Walkner (AUT) – KTM, +00:05:56…

Overall Top 5
1. K. Benavides (ARG) – Honda, 40:20:08
2. R. Brabec (USA) – Honda, +00:00:51
3. S. Sunderland (GBR) – KTM, +00:10:36
4. J. Barreda (ESP) – Honda, +00:15:40
5. S. Howes (USA) – KTM, +00:29:38…

Francisco Chaleco Lopez

LIGHTWEIGHT VEHICLEs
Stage 10 Top 5
1. S. Kariakan (RUS) – CAN-AM, 03:31:17
2. A. Jones (USA) – CAN-AM, +00:00:29
3. M. Goczal (POL) – CAN-AM, +00:01:10
4. K. Al-Attiyah (QAT) – CAN-AM, +00:01:41
5. G. Farres (ESP) – CAN-AM, +00:01:56…

Overall Top 5
1. F. Lopez (CHL) – CAN-AM, 45:39:18
2. A. Jones (USA) – CAN-AM, +00:10:13
3. A. Domzala (POL) – CAN-AM, +00:42:41
4. M. Goczal (POL) – CAN-AM, +01:01:59
5. R. Varela (BRA) – CAN-AM, +01:24:47…

Dmitry Sotnikov

TRUCKS
Stage 10 Top 5
1. M. Macik (CZE) – IVECO 03:13:02
2. D. Sotnikov (RUS) – KAMAZ, +00:01:40
3. A. Mardeev (RUS) – KAMAZ, +00:03:16
4. A. Vishneuski (BLR) – MAZ, +00:03:25
5. A. Karginov (RUS) – KAMAZ, +00:03:57…

Overall Top 5
1. D. Sotnikov (RUS) – KAMAZ, 40:57:31
2. A. Shibalov (RUS) – KAMAZ, +00:47:22
3. A. Mardeev (RUS) – KAMAZ, +01:14:41
4. A. Loprais (CZE) – PRAGA, +01:35:35
5. M. Macik (CZE) – IVECO, +03:13:02…

QUOTES
Nasser Al-Attiyah: « There’s nothing easy at Dakar and today the navigation was tough. The problem is that bikes in front cut the corners so it’s not easy to find the way. I’m happy to finish without any problems. The key to this Dakar will be tomorrow, it’s a really, really difficult stage. »

Stéphane Peterhansel: « Today we expected an easier stage, but in the end the navigation was really complicated. It was quite short and there were not so many rocks, but still it was tricky. It looks like they were trying to get us all lost. »

Giniel de Villiers: « This morning we made two small errors which cost us about a minute each. There was so much dust in the riverbeds I had to fall back twice. We did our best to keep a good pace. »

Kuba Przygoński: « Today was a really fast stage for us with no punctures. It was a windy stage with a lot of dust for us starting in the back. This kind of stage was nicer to drive than previous ones. We don’t know exactly what to expect tomorrow, but we know it will be hard. »

Carlos Sainz: « The first part of the stage had very tricky navigation and we lost quite a bit of time. After that things got better, but it was still not easy because of all the dust. We had to get past six or seven cars. It wasn’t easy. »

Cyril Despres: « Wow, wow, wow! I was in a wall of dust all day. Honestly, a really complicated day from the morning. About 400 notes on the roadbook which was quite challenging for my co-driver Mike. »

Matthias Walkner: « Like every stage we’ve had at this Dakar, this one was really difficult. We have to focus so much every day, the navigation is super tricky. There was a lot of dust today but I enjoyed myself. Now we are coming closer to the end we see riders trying to push. One small mistake can change everything. »

Sam Sunderland: « I made quite a few mistakes today which is a bit disappointing. I’m just trying to do my best, as is everybody. The roadbook is super difficult and staying on the right track is not always easy. I was lost off-piste today and I end up doing some circles. »

Daniel Sanders: « It was a bad day today for me. I made a lot of mistakes early on and lost a lot of time. It was rough going and then the boys behind caught up. I ended up in a bit of dust. It was just another day to get to the finish line. We’ve got a massive day tomorrow so the last 100km I managed to hold back and save a bit of energy. »

Laia Sanz: « I got lost at the beginning. Then I was behind the quads and other bikes, nobody would let me past. It was so dangerous, I was completely in the dust for 200km. I just tried to arrive here safely. »

Chaleco López: « A difficult day but I’m happy with how we finished. Tomorrow is a long day and I think we have given ourselves a good starting position. »

Seth Quintero: « I got back to the bivouac about 4.30 this morning. The boys got to work getting the car going. Just two minutes before it was my time to leave for today’s stage they said, ‘Get in the car and get out of here! »

Cristina Gutierrez

Cristina Gutiérrez: « The stage today was very beautiful. Yesterday was a very hard day for me because we started at the back of the race. We overtook 37 cars and it was difficult. Today I enjoyed a lot, Francois was great with the navigation and it was a very good day. »

Ayrat Mardeev: « The day went well, the main thing is that the team kept its positions in the general classification. »

Ignacio Casale: « Yesterday we had a problem with the battery that cost us one hour and a half. Today was much, much better. We started very far back and had to deal with lots of dust. Despite this I felt comfortable. I have been getting more and more comfortable with the truck, especially in this second week. »

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