A dramatic third stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally has seen quite a bit of unexpected storylines unfold across the field. Carlos Sainz took the victory on the rain-impacted Al Qaisumah loop stage in the car class, giving Audi its first stage win since 1985, and securing the first-ever stage win for an electric drivetrain in the world’s premier rally raid for the all-new RS Q e-tron. Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Henk Lategan and fellow Audi driver Stephane Peterhansel completed the day’s podium.
Nasser Al-Attiyah remains the overall car class leader, but it was a mixed day in the dunes for the 2019 champion. While he finished eighth on stage, a puncture for Stage 2 winner Sebastien Loeb enabled Al-Attiyah to add nearly half an hour to his overall lead. However, Al-Attiyah also faces a suspended disqualification after his team failed to reconnect its data logger for yesterday’s stage; the team will need to ensure that it makes no similar errors for the remainder of the event.
Elsewhere, it was a good day for American UTV racers, with Seth Quintero bouncing back from yesterday’s disappointing DNF to score a Light Prototype class win by more than five minutes over class leader Chaleco Lopez and Austin Jones extending his SSV division lead to 5:23 over Rodrigo Luppi. In fact, only the United States boasts two class leaders, as Pablo Copetti inherited the quad class lead with a Stage 3 victory and a litany of issues for Laisvydas Kancius.
Portugal’s Joaquim Rodrigues scored the motorcycle class victory, the first of his career, and honored fallen former teammate Paulo Gonçalves, who passed away in the 2020 Dakar. The battle for the overall motorcycle lead is now down to four seconds as Sam Sunderland retained his lead by the thinnest of margins over Adrien Van Beveren. In the trucks, Dmitry Sotnikov expanded his overall lead to more than 11 minutes over Kamaz teammate Eduard Nikolaev thanks to a Stage 3 win.
2022 Dakar Rally Stage 3 winners were as follows:
- Bikes: Joaquim Rodrigues (POR), 2:34:41
- Cars: Carlos Sainz (ESP), 2:26:51
- Trucks: Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS), 2:43:25
- Quads: Pablo Copetti (USA), 3:12:48
- Light Prototype: Seth Quintero (USA), 2:52:23
- SSV: Marek Goczal (POL), 2:58:46
2022 Dakar Rally overall leaders after Stage 3 are as follows:
- Bikes: Sam Sunderland (GBR), 11:13:40
- Cars: Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), 9:31:22
- Trucks: Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS), 10:42:32
- Quads: Pablo Copetti (USA), 14:10:56
- Light Prototype: Chaleco Lopez (CHL), 11:27:54
- SSV: Austin Jones (USA), 11:53:53
The Dakar Rally continues tomorrow with Stage 4, the longest special stage of the rally, taking competitors to Riyadh with 465 kilometers of competitive stage time. Coverage of Stage 2 will air on the Olympic Channel tonight at 8PM ET, with extended highlights also streaming on NBC Sports digital platforms.