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Red Bull Desert Wings push on penultimate stage of 2021 Dakar Rally

January 14, 2021
Yanbu, Saudi Arabia
The journey is coming to an end at the 2021 Dakar Rally so Stage 11 was a chance to make a big move and grab some glory. The leaders in each category were out to protect their advantages, but that didn’t stop the chasing pack snapping at their heels. Let’s see who managed to shake up the rankings on the penultimate day of racing…

A Stage 11 surge from Sam Sunderland has lifted the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider to second overall ahead of the final day of the rally. The British biker went on the attack and at one point during the day he had drawn level with race leader Kevin Benavides in the general classification.

When the duo reached the finish line Sunderland had beaten Benavides on the stage by over six minutes. Sunderland starts tomorrow’s final stage a tantalising 4m12s off the lead and knowing full well that at the Dakar anything is possible.

“I knew that today was one of my last chances to try to win. I gave my all, all day. I didn’t manage to take quite enough time but I’m happy with my effort. We still have one day to go and many things can happen in one stage.” – Sam Sunderland

Also moving up the rankings of the bike race on Stage 11 was rookie Daniel Sanders. The 26-year-old has been on a steep learning curve in Saudi Arabia and has been equal to every challenge the rally has thrown at him so far. Sanders is fourth overall with one stage remaining, a podium finish is not out of the question.

“It was a really cool stage, my favourite one so far. There was lots of variety and it was really difficult. I’m in a good position on my first Dakar. I’m really looking forward to crossing the finish line tomorrow. Then I can start to relax.” – Daniel Sanders

A third consecutive Top 5 stage result kept Matthias Walkner in position to help out Sunderland and Sanders on the route between Al Ula and Yanbu.

With one stage left in the bike race Štefan Svitko has broken into the Top 10, Laia Sanz is in the Top 20 overall and rookie Camille Chapelière is 23rd in the general classification.

Nasser Al-Attiyah was able to take a further two minutes out of Stéphane Peterhansel’s lead in the car race. With one stage remaining Peterhansel is protecting a 15 minute advantage at the front of the rally and is just 255km of racing away from a 14th Dakar victory (six on a bike and seven in a car, so far).

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Stephane Peterhansel (FRA) for X-Raid Mini JCW Team races during stage 11 of Rally Dakar 2021 from Alula to Yanbu, Saudi Arabia on January 14, 2021.

“In the middle of the dunes there were rocks, it was not easy to anticipate. Only one day to go now so we cross our fingers and hope that we can finish in first place.” – Stéphane Peterhansel

Peterhansel has held first place since Stage Two and Al-Attiyah has been in second since Stage Three. Al-Attiyah has been doing all he can to close the gap to Monsieur Dakar and has six stage wins at the rally to his name. The Qatari will have one final attempt to capture first place tomorrow.

“There’s still one stage to go and we will see what the next day brings.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah

The final spot on the podium belongs to Carlos Sainz who leads fourth place Kuba Przygoński by close to 90 minutes. Sainz got an extra blast of desert sun today when the roof of his MINI Buggy was removed during the stage.

“We hit a wire at high speed at it removed the whole roof. It was another difficult day. Everything has happened to us at this Dakar.” – Carlos Sainz

Giniel de Villiers was slowed by bent steering while Cyril Despres’ strong second week continued with another Top 5 stage result on day 11.

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Cyril Despres (FRA) for Abu Dhabi Racing Team races during stage 11 of Rally Dakar 2021 from Alula to Yanbu, Saudi Arabia on January 14, 2021.

“It was hard, physical and demanding. This is the type of racing we are here to do.”– Cyril Despres

Rookie Seth Quintero is determined to finish his Dakar on a high and a stage win on day 11 will help him in that mission. The 18-year-old took control of the Lightweight Vehicles race before the midway point of the timed special and finished the stage 12 minutes quicker than anybody else in the category.

“Today went absolutely amazing. Our plan was to pick cars off all day and run smooth and that’s exactly what we did. We end up as the first over the line and the first on time. It blows my mind how well this Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team works.” – Seth Quintero

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Seth Quintero (USA) of Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team races during stage 11 of Rally Dakar2021 from Alula to Yambu, Saudi Arabia on January 14, 2021 // Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool // SI202101140033 // Usage for editorial use only //

Chaleco López retains his overall lead in the Lightweight Vehicles category and is the only other driver in the race – alongside Quintero – to have more than one stage win at this Dakar.

“Now we are near the end so I have to think about the overall. We did a good job today.” – Chaleco López

Cristina Gutiérrez, a team-mate of Quintero in the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team, completed another solid stage in the Dakar Experience. Debutant Mattias Ekström is also approaching the Jeddah finish line in the Dakar Experience.

“For me this was by far the best stage of the rally. The nature with the mixture of dunes and stones, I really liked it.” – Mattias Ekström

Dmitry Sotnikov may have finished outside of the Top 3 for the first time on a stage at the 2021 Dakar today, but it hasn’t changed much at the top of truck race. Sotnikov is set to celebrate his first ever Dakar victory in Jeddah tomorrow, his lead over second placed Anton Shibalov is 39m58s. It’s a third Kamaz driver, Ayrat Mardeev, who occupies the final podium spot making it a clean sweep for the Russian truckers.

The fourth Kamaz truck, driven by Andrey Karginov has been supporting his team-mates all the way.

“We finished the way we started. We completed the task for the stage – to backup three of our crews, to provide assistance, if necessary.” – Andrey Karginov

The 2021 Dakar concludes tomorrow as Stage 12 brings the convoy back to Jeddah. Within the 225km timed special stage is a chain of dunes that could yet provide one final dose of drama at the desert classic.



Stage 11 Top 5

  1. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) TOYOTA 04:34:24
  2. S. PETERHANSEL (FRA) MINI +00:01:56
  3. C. SAINZ (ESP) MINI +00:02:26
  4. Y. AL RAJHI (SAU) TOYOTA +00:04:02
  5. C. DESPRES (FRA) PEUGEOT +00:08:31

Overall Top 5

  1. S. PETERHANSEL (FRA) MINI 42:09:26
  2. N. AL-ATTIYAH (QAT) TOYOTA +00:15:05
  3. C. SAINZ (ESP) MINI +01:04:14
  4. J. PRZYGONSKI (POL) TOYOTA +02:32:24
  5. N. ROMA (ESP) PRODRIVE +03:15:54


Stage 11 Top 5

  1. S. SUNDERLAND (GBR) KTM 04:35:12
  3. K. BENAVIDES (ARG) HONDA +00:06:24
  4. D. SANDERS (AUS) KTM +00:08:34
  5. M. WALKNER (AUT) KTM +00:09:27

Overall Top 5

  1. K. BENAVIDES (ARG) HONDA 45:01:44
  2. S. SUNDERLAND (GBR) KTM +00:04:12
  3. R. BRABEC (USA) HONDA +00:07:13
  4. D. SANDERS (AUS) KTM +00:33:05
  5. S. HOWES (USA) KTM +00:49:07


Stage 11 Top 5

  1. S. QUINTERO (USA) OT3 04:58:17
  2. F. LOPEZ (CHL) CAN-AM +00:12:13
  3. G. FARRES GUELL (ESP) CAN-AM +00:17:34
  4. K. AL ATTIYAH (QAT) CAN-AM +00:17:41
  5. K. MEEKE (GBR) PH-SPORT +00:18:02

Overall Top 5

  1. F. LOPEZ (CHL) CAN-AM 50:49:48
  2. A. JONES (USA) CAN-AM +00:18:24
  3. A. DOMZALA (POL) CAN-AM +00:54:16
  4. M. GOCZAL (POL) CAN-AM +01:21:18
  5. R. VARELA (BRA) CAN-AM +01:36:07


Stage 11 Top 5

  1. A. SHIBALOV (RUS) KAMAZ 04:46:38
  2. A. MARDEEV (RUS) KAMAZ +00:04:13
  3. A. VISHNEUSKI (BLR) MAZ +00:04:53
  4. A. KARGINOV (RUS) KAMAZ +00:06:13
  5. D. SOTNIKOV (RUS) KAMAZ +00:07:24

Overall Top 5

  1. D. SOTNIKOV (RUS) KAMAZ 45:51:33
  2. A. SHIBALOV (RUS) KAMAZ +00:39:58
  3. A. MARDEEV (RUS) KAMAZ +01:11:30
  4. M. MACIK (CZE) IVECO +01:47:48
  5. A. LOPRAIS (CZE) PRAGA +01:54:08

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