DAK A S O A Vincent DPPI

Red Bull Desert Wings get into gear for final push at utra-though Dakar Rally

January 13, 2021
Al Ula, Saudi Arabia
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…

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.

SI news
Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) for Toyota Gazoo Racing Team races during stage 10 of Rally Dakar 2021 from Neom to Alula, Saudi Arabia on January 13, 2021.

“The key to this Dakar will be tomorrow, it’s a really, really difficult stage.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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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) MINI +00:02:53
  4. C. SAINZ (ESP) MINI +00:04:12

Overall Top 5

  1. S. PETERHANSEL (FRA) MINI 37:33:06
  2. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) TOYOTA +00:17:01
  3. C. SAINZ (ESP) MINI +01:03:44
  4. J. PRZYGONSKI (POL) TOYOTA +02:18:43
  5. N. ROMA (ESP) PRODRIVE +02:50:22


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


Stage 10 Top 5

  1. S. KARIAKIN (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 GUELL (ESP) CAN-AM +00:01:56

  1. Overall Top 5
  2. F. LOPEZ (CHL) CAN-AM 45:39:13
  3. A. JONES (USA) CAN-AM +00:10:13
  4. A. DOMZALA (POL) CAN-AM +00:42:41
  5. M. GOCZAL (POL) CAN-AM +01:01:59
  6. R. VARELA (BRA) CAN-AM +01:24:47


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