DAK Horacio Cabilla

Sanders, Al-Attiyah, Quintero Headline Dakar Rally Leaders After Stage 1

Two of last year’s most promising rookies and one of rally raid’s biggest names are on top of the 2022 Dakar Rally after the completion of this weekend’s Stage 1A and 1B, taking racers from Jeddah to Ha’il. Australian Daniel Sanders, last year’s fourth place motorcycle finisher, and Seth Quintero, the youngest-ever Dakar stage winner in the Light Prototype classes, each took victories to lead their respective classes through the kickoff weekend, while Nasser Al-Attiyah made 2022 his 14th consecutive Dakar with a stage victory to assert the lead in the Car class.

Al-Attiyah had not only the quickest overall time on the day with a 3:30:53, but also the largest margin of victory, beating World Rally Championship legend Sebastien Loeb to the finish by 12 minutes and 44 seconds. The closest gap came in the Truck division, where Kamaz teammates Dmitry Sotnikov and Eduard Nikolaev were separated by just 31 seconds at the conclusion of Sunday’s action.

DAK Horacio Cabilla

505 Nikolaev Eduard (rus), Iakovlev Evgenii (rus), Rybakov Vladimir (rus), Kamaz-Master, Kamaz 43509, T5 FIA Camion, action during the Stage 1B of the Dakar Rally 2022 around Hail, on January 2nd, 2022 in Hail, Saudi Arabia

Two Americans placed within the top 10 in the bike class, with rookie Mason Klein in fifth and veteran Skyles Howes in 10th. The results were less positive for Andrew Short, who ranked 19th, and former Dakar winner Ricky Brabec, who finished a disappointing 35th. Pablo Copetti, the Argentinian-born racer who acquired American citizenship two years ago, finished third on the quads and under 10 minutes behind class winner Laisvydas Kancius, while SSV racer Austin Jones was second, just 1:58 behind class winner Aron Domzala.

The start of this year’s Dakar was marred by an explosion in an assistance truck for the French Sodicars team on Thursday morning, where competitor Philippe Boutron’s leg was badly injured and required surgery. The 61-year-old Boutron, who was preparing for his ninth Dakar, remains in a military hospital in Jeddah; security measures have been bolstered for the remainder of the event.

DAK Florent Gooden DPPI

04 Sanders Daniel (aus), GasGas Factory Racing, KTM 450 Rally Factory Replica, Moto, W2RC, action during the Stage 1B of the Dakar Rally 2022 around Hail, on January 2nd, 2022 in Hail, Saudi Arabia – Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

2022 Dakar Rally Stage 1 winners were as follows:

  • Bikes: Daniel Sanders (AUS), 4:38:40
  • Cars: Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), 3:30:53
  • Trucks: Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS), 4:06:22
  • Quads: Laisvydas Kancius (LTU), 6:15:37
  • Light Prototype: Seth Quintero (USA), 4:21:35
  • SSV: Aron Domzala (POL), 4:37:26

2022 Dakar Rally overall leaders after Stage 1B are as follows:

  • Bikes: Daniel Sanders (AUS), 4:38:40
  • Cars: Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), 3:30:53
  • Trucks: Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS), 4:06:22
  • Quads: Laisvydas Kancius (LTU), 6:15:37
  • Light Prototype: Seth Quintero (USA), 4:21:35
  • SSV: Aron Domzala (POL), 4:37:26

The Dakar Rally continues tomorrow with Stage 2, a trek from Ha’il to Al Artawiya that includes 338 kilometers of special stage. Coverage of Stage 1 will air on the Olympic Channel tonight at 8PM ET, with extended highlights also streaming on NBC Sports digital platforms and Peacock.

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.