Dakar 2024: Loeb loses his illusions, Sainz (car) and Brabec (motorcycle) reach the goal

Sébastien Loeb lost big during the penultimate stage of the Dakar.

Dakar 2024: Loeb loses his illusions, Sainz (car) and Brabec (motorcycle) reach the goal

Sébastien Loeb lost big during the penultimate stage of the Dakar. The Frenchman, who could still dream of a final victory, suffered a mechanical breakdown which cost him more than an hour. On the eve of the finish, Carlos Sainz and Ricky Brabec almost won the race.

[Updated January 18 at 3:12 p.m.] It is not yet this year that Sébastien Loeb will win the Dakar. The Frenchman, for whom this is the eighth participation in the most prestigious rally-raid, lost his illusions somewhere in the stones and flints between Al Ula and Yanbu this Thursday. Returning the day before to 13 minutes behind leader Carlos Sainz, the Alsatian set off with the intention of riding flat out over the 480 timed kilometers of the penultimate stage of this 46th edition. Unfortunately for him, his dreams were dashed at kilometer 132 when the right front triangle of his Hunter buggy broke.

Stopped for more than an hour for repairs, Sébastien Loeb abandoned all chances of registering his name on the rally's prize list for the first time. The former undisputed king in the WRC - nine times world champion - however managed to retain his place on the podium at the last minute, overtaken by the Belgian Gilles De Mevius but not by the Brazilian Lucas Moraes who also experienced big setbacks, but at the end of the route. The Tricolore, on the other hand, are more than an hour and a half behind Carlos Sainz. The blow is hard for the Alsatian.

Second success in a row for Chicherit

The misfortune of some making the happiness of others, Carlos Sainz has now almost won the race. The Spaniard, who passed in front of Sébastien Loeb when he was at a standstill, did not take his foot off the gas to manage his progress. The Madrilenian, already a three-time winner of the Dakar, took advantage of starting behind many competitors to follow in their footsteps and the power of his Audi did the rest. Although he did not seek his first victory since the start on January 5, Carlos Sainz still signed the third best time of the day, trailing only the Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit - winner for the second time in two days - and by Gilles De Mevius. The Iberian now has a mattress comfortable enough to calmly tackle the last 328 kilometers, including 175 of the special stage, on the program for the last stage. It is difficult to see how the experienced 61-year-old driver could not win a fourth crown tomorrow, his first in Saudi Arabia.

On the motorcycle side, the suspense also seems to be over. Ricky Brabec once again mastered all the elements on Thursday and is heading straight for a second victory on the Dakar. The American, who opened the track, placed second in this penultimate stage and only conceded around thirty seconds to the winner Ross Branch, his runner-up in the general classification. The Californian maintains a little more than ten minutes ahead of the Botswanan on the eve of the finish, enough to see ahead before the final loop planned around Yanbu. Third in the special, Adrien Van Beveren, who lost three additional minutes, remains on the third step of the podium and has undoubtedly definitively ruled out the threat Jose Ignacio Cornejo, who gave up more than 25 minutes today.

1. (=) Sainz/Cruz (Audi) in 46h23'47"2. ( 2) De Mevius/Panseri (Toyota) at 1h27'06"3. (-1) Loeb/Lurquin (Prodrive Hunter) at 1h35'02"4. ( 1) Chicherit/Winocq (Toyota) at 1h42'20"5. ( 2) Prokop/Chytka (Ford) at 2h17'47"6. ( 3) Botterill/Cummigs (Toyota) at 2h41'31"7. ( 1) De Villiers/Murphy (Toyota) at 2h51'09"8. ( 2) Vanagas/Sikk (Toyota) at 3h01'36"9. (-6) Moraes/Monleon (Toyota) at 3h06'42"10. (-4) Serradori/Minaudier (Century) at 3h09'17"...........12. ( 1) Peterhansel/Boulanger (Audi) at 4h16'4350. (6) Ekström/Bergkvist (Audi) at 15h22'55"

1. (=) Ricky Brabec (USA/Honda) in 49h37'57"2. (=) Ross Branch (BWA/Hero) at 10''22"3. (=) Adrien Van Beveren (FRA/Honda) at 14'31"4. (=) Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (CHI/Honda) at 38'44"5. (=) Kévin Benavides (ARG/KTM) at 41'19"6. (=) Toby Price (AUS/KTM) at 47'59"7. (=) Luciano Benavides (ARG/Husqvarna) at 55'48"8. (=) Daniel Sanders (AUS/GASGAS) at 1h'12'25"9. (=) Stefan Svitko (SVQ/KTM) at 1h54'18"10. (=) Martin Michek (RTC/KTM) at 2h43'40"...........17. (=) Pablo Quintanilla (CHI/Honda) at 5:19:43

Al Attiyah/Baumel (Prodrive Hunter) – No. 200- Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk (Toyota Hilux Overdrive) – No. 201- Peterhansel/Boulanger (Audi RS Q e-tron E2) – No. 202- Loeb/Lurquin (200). Prodrive Hunter) – No. 203- Sainz/Cruz (Audi RS Q e-tron E2) – No. 204- Yacopini/Oliveiras (Toyota Hilux Overdrive) – No. 205- Moraes/Monleon (Toyota GR DKR Hilux) – No 206- Ekström/Bergkvist (Audi RS Q e-tron E2) – No. 207- De Villiers/Murphy (Toyota GR DKR Hilux) – No. 209- Roma/Bravo (Ford Ranger) – No. 210- Chicherit/Winocq ( Toyota Hilux Overdrive) – No. 211- Quintero/Zenz (Toyota GR DKR Hilux) – No. 216- De Mevius/Panseri (Toyota Hilux Overdrive) – No. 221- Baumgart/Cincea (Prodrive Hunter) - No

- Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) - n°1- Toby Price (KTM) - n°2- Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) - n°4- Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) - n°5- Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) - n°7 - Ricky Brabec (Honda) – n°9- Skyler Howes (Honda) – n°10- Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (Honda) – n°11- Romain Dumontier (Husqvarna) - n°16- Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) – #42- Ross Branch (Hero) - #46- Kevin Benavides (KTM) – #47- Tosha Schareina (Honda) - #73- Joan Barredo (Hero) – #88

There are changes in 2024. A privileged partner of the rally from the start, France Télévisions will no longer be the main broadcaster of the race this year. Only the Journal du Dakar will be offered each evening to viewers of the public service channel around 8:50 p.m. This 46th edition marks the arrival of the Dakar on the L'Equipe Channel. Broadcast unencrypted on TNT, on channel 21, the channel of the major sports daily will cover the race in detail.

The big live show will allow you to see the arrival of the main competitors every day between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. with several journalists and consultants on site to collect the participants' first reactions. It will also be possible to watch the channel's Dakar Journal from 6:20 p.m. while the summary of each stage will be broadcast at 8 p.m. For those who weren't able to watch, the highlights of each stage will be rebroadcast each following day from 11am. Note that the Eurosport group, via its channels 1 and 2, will always follow the race, with a summary of around fifty minutes each day at 8 p.m., 11:30 p.m. or the next morning at 8 a.m.