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Big Names Bounce Back in Second Stage of 2021 Dakar Rally; Peterhansel Takes Overall Lead

The only established consistency of the Dakar Rally is inconsistency. Day to day, year to year, the names atop the time tables are fluid and ever-changing; while each class has a set of regular and reliable front-runners who have established themselves over years of competition, where those racers finish each stage can change overnight. Such was the case in Monday’s 457-kilometer trek from Bisha to Wadi Ad-Dawasir, as the Monster Energy Honda duo of Joan Barreda Bort and Ricky Brabec put a difficult Stage 1 behind them to finish 1-2 on motorcycles on the day, while Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah reasserted himself with another stage win after beating the Mini JCW X-Raid duo of Stephane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz.

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Peterhansel Stephane (fra), Mini, X-Raid Mini JCW Team, Auto, portrait during the 1st stage of the Dakar 2021 between Jeddah and Bisha, in Saudi Arabia on January 3, 2021 – Photo Julien Delfosse / DPPI

Back-to-back runner-up stage finishes allowed Peterhansel to take the overall lead from his teammate, flipping from an eight-second deficit coming into the day to an advantage of more than six minutes. Barreda and Brabec are now 1-2 on the bikes as well, as Stage 1 winner and incoming overall leader Toby Price struggled with mechanical issues today and dropped to 15th in the class, more than 17 minutes off of the lead.

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412 Alsaif Saleh (sau), Montijano Oriol Vidal (esp), Can-Am, Black Horse, SSV Series – T4, action during the 1st stage of the Dakar 2021 between Jeddah and Bisha, in Saudi Arabia on January 3, 2021 – Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

Among lightweight vehicles and SSVs, 2020 runner-up Chaleco Lopez is now the overall leader after a third place stage finish today, holding a 39-second advantage over Aron Domzala. Saleh Alsaif was the top SSV finisher on the day, on the way to ninth in the overall event standings, while Seth Quintero became the youngest stage winner in Dakar history with his first T3 stage victory. Stage 1 winner Cristina Gutierrez Herrero remains the top racer in the T3 class, with Quintero and Mattias Ekstrom second and third in that class.

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163 Copetti Pablo (usa), Yamaha, MX Devesa By Berta, Motul, Quad, action during the 2nd stage of the Dakar 2021 between Bisha and Wadi Al Dawasir, in Saudi Arabia on January 4, 2021 – Photo Frederic Le Floc’h / DPPI

On the quads, Pablo Copetti took his first stage victory of the event, beating Giovanni Enrico even with a three-second penalty, but Alexandre Giroud remains the overall leader by over a minute after a third place finish. Dmitry Sotnikov’s class lead in the trucks is up to more than 17 minutes over Siarhei Viazovich after a second straight stage victory. Finally, in the Dakar Classic division, Marc Douton continues to lead in the 1979 Sunhill buggy with 106 points on the day and 227 overall; second place Juan Donatiu has nearly 500 more points as the gaps begin to widen.

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507 Sotnikov Dmitry (rus), Akhmadeev Ruslan (rus), Akhmatzianov Ilgiz (rus), Kamaz, Kamaz – Master, Camion, Truck, action during the 2nd stage of the Dakar 2021 between Bisha and Wadi Al Dawasir, in Saudi Arabia on January 4, 2021 – Photo Frederic Le Floc’h / DPPI

American racers had a mixed set of performances behind Quintero and Brabec. Stage 1 winner Austin Jones’ ninth place run in the T4 class nonetheless dropped him to fifth in the classification. Mitch Guthrie made up for a disappointing opening stage with a third place run in T3, though he remains four hours off of the class lead, while Skyler Howes remains in the top 10 on the bikes and Wayne Matlock continues to hold tough at 11th overall in SSV. Kristen Matlock, meanwhile, suffered major damage in the dunes and required a tow, while Andrew Short withdrew from the motorcycle division due to mechanical issues. As for the heralded Bahrain Raid Xtreme team run by Prodrive, Sebastien Loeb’s sixth place stage run allowed him to recover to seventh in the car class, while Nani Roma sits 16th overall after a top 10 stage performance of his own.

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305 Loeb Sebastien (fra), Elena Daniel (mco), Hunter, Bahrain Raid Xtreme, Auto, BRX, action during the 2nd stage of the Dakar 2021 between Bisha and Wadi Al Dawasir, in Saudi Arabia on January 4, 2021 – Photo Frederic Le Floc’h / DPPI

United States coverage of the 2021 Dakar Rally airs on NBCSN at 6PM ET/3PM PT, with the previous day’s stage airing at the top half of the hour and the newest recap shown directly after. The bivouac remains in Wadi Ad-Dawasir tomorrow for the first loop stage of the rally, with 403 kilometers of special stage and just 227 kilometers of transit. Last year’s Wadi Ad-Dawasir loop was cancelled for motorcycles and quads after the tragic passing of Paulo Goncalves on the previous day.

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#142 Gerini Maurizio (ita), Husqvarna, Solarys Racing, Original by Motul, Moto, Bike, 101 Knight David (gbr), Husqvarna, HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing, Motul, Moto, Bike, action during the 2nd stage of the Dakar 2021 between Bisha and Wadi Al Dawasir, in Saudi Arabia on January 4, 2021 – Photo Frederic Le Floc’h / DPPI

2021 Dakar Rally Stage 2 Winners

  • Motorcycle: Joan Barreda Bort, 4:17:56
  • Quad: Pablo Copetti, 5:34:50
  • Car: Nasser Al-Attiyah, 4:03:14
  • Lightweight Prototype: Seth Quintero, 5:15:41
  • SSV: Saleh Alsaif, 5:05:07
  • Truck: Dmitry Sotnikov, 4:37:44
  • Classic: Marc Douton, 106 points
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301 Al-Attiyah Nasser (qat), Baumel Matthieu (fra), Toyota, Toyota Gazoo Racing, Auto, action during the 2nd stage of the Dakar 2021 between Bisha and Wadi Al Dawasir, in Saudi Arabia on January 4, 2021 – Photo Frederic Le Floc’h / DPPI

2021 Dakar Rally Overall Rankings

ClassMotorcycleQuadCarLightweight/SSVTruck
1stJ. Barreda BortA. GiroudS. PeterhanselF. Lopez ContardoD. Sotnikov
2ndR. BrabecG. EnricoC. SainzA. DomzalaS. Viazovich
3rdR. BranchP. CopettiN. Al-AttiyahG. Farres GuellA. Shibalov
4thP. QuintanillaN. CavigliassoM. SerradoriC. Gutierrez HerreroM. Macik
5thX. de SoultraitM. AndujarJ. PrzygonskiR. VarelaA. Loprais
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.