2020 Dakar Rally: Brabec, Currie Become First American Dakar Winners

For the first time in Dakar Rally history, winning honors will come to the United States after not one, but two dominant off-road racers clinched the overall victories on Friday in Qiddiya. Monster Energy Yamaha rider Ricky Brabec avenged last year’s heartbreak in the motorcycle category, while Casey Currie built on a strong fourth place debut in the SSV category last year to earn the overall victory in his second attempt at the event.

Casey Currie along with his at the Finish Line of the 2020 Dakar Rally

Brabec punctuated his overall win with a second place finish on Friday’s final stage, hanging onto a lead of more than 16 minutes over Chilean Pablo Quintanilla, who earned a career-best second place finish. Defending motorcycle winner Toby Price completed the class podium. Currie won the SSV class by more than 39 minutes over Russia’s Sergei Kariakin, while defending winner Chaleco Lopez completed the podium in that class as well.

305 Sainz Carlos (esp), Cruz Lucas (esp), Mini John Cooper Works Buggy, Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team, Car, ambiance on the podium at the arrival of the Dakar 2020, in Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia, on January 17, 2020 – Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

Two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz scored his third career Dakar win, and second in three years, in the car class, holding off defending event winner and Stage 12 winner Nasser Al-Attiyah by just over six minutes. The entire top three, including third place Stephane Peterhansel, were separated by under 10 minutes, and also swept the top three positions on five of this year’s 12 stages. Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso fell out of overall contention early, but completed his first Dakar in a respectable 13th place overall, capping his event with a fourth place finish on the final stage.

Returning to the quads after a DNF in SSV last year, Ignacio Casale hung onto the class lead for his third Dakar win in 2020. In the trucks, Andrey Karginov kept the win in the Kamaz family after defending champion Eduard Nikolaev fell out of the overall standings, scoring the largest win of the event—more than 42 minutes—over teammate Anton Shibalov. Karginov was the only overall winner to take a victory on the final stage, his seventh of the event and sixth in the final seven stages of the rally.

Reruns of this year’s Dakar Rally coverage will air on the NBC Sports Network starting at 1PM ET/10AM PT on Friday, beginning with Stage 3 at Neom. The premiere of coverage of the final stage from Haradh to Qiddiya will air at 6PM ET/3PM PT.

Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.