Dakar Rally 2022 Winner’s Recap

Dakar Rally 2022 Winner’s Recap

The results are in! The Dakar Rally Winners for 2022: Sam Sunderland and Nasser Al-Attiyah have emerged victorious in the bike and car categories, respectively.

After 12 gruelling days racing in the Saudi deserts, this year’s event has come to an end. This year’s course is 70% new, offering many possibilities for different outcomes and challenges. The new route features wide spreads of dunes across all stages, along with a surprising rainfall at the start of the race, which presented an unexpected set of difficulties for both competitors and organisers.

Motorcycle Category

British Born Sam Sunderland delivered the mature, considered performance that fans have come to expect, finishing eighth in the final stage, claiming overall victory at the 44th Dakar Rally, and giving GASGAS Factory Racing their first-ever Dakar victory.

Motor Vehicle Category

Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah claimed victory after a long and challenging 12 stages, marking Al-Attiyah’s 4th win of his Dakar career. Al-Attiyah raced flawlessly from the start and won by a large margin on the second stage. This helped him control the race from early on. So far, Nasser has made the podium on every race he has finished since 2010.

Quads Category

Alexandre Giroud of Yamaha Racing SMX needed only to complete the final stage to win his first title in the Quads category. Coming in fifth place in the twelfth stage, his lead in the general classification secured his victory. Only seven Quad drivers finished the race, with Alexandre Giroud becoming the first Frenchman to win in this category.

Trucks Category

The Kamaz – Master drivers dominated the 2022 Dakar Rally, with Russian Dmitry Sotnikov taking his second title in succession and three other Kamaz drivers following close behind. The team was pushed through its paces in the final 164 km sprint through small gorges, following in close convoy on rugged and winding gravel roads that proved difficult to navigate in the rally caravans, but the team’s efforts paid off as they swept up all podium spots.

SSV Category

American-born Austin Jones overcame a 1-minute, 41-second disadvantage on the last stage to win the SSV overall, all without the first-place position in previous stages. After experiencing gearbox problems in Stage 11, the Can-Am Factory South Racing driver finished third in the final stage. Jones, who took second in SSV in the 2021 Dakar, becomes the third American to take the SSV championship in Dakar history.

Lightweight Prototype Category

Even though Francisco’ Chaleco’ López also did not have any stage wins this year, his consistent performance allowed him to steadily secure his lead in the lightweight prototype category. Red Bull’s best efforts were in vain as South Racing’s captain took the lead after stage two and cruised inconsistency towards victory.

2022 has been indeed a Dakar Rally for the ages, with every participant worth their salt. Non-stop action and an ever-changing track put teams through their paces — full of drama, speed, surprises, and the occasional navigational mishap.

Highlights For The 2022 Dakar Rally: Car Category

Highlights For The 2022 Dakar Rally: Car Category

Between January 1-14, 2022, the 44th edition of the Dakar Rally was organised by Amaury Sport Organization and hosted in Saudi Arabia for the third time, and supported by Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation.

The race began in Ha’il and finished in Jeddah, traversing through the Neom region’s gorges and cliffs, along the Red Sea coast, and across stretches of dunes encircling Riyadh, with the sand dunes on Empty Quarter providing most of the action. The course featured one prologue stage and twelve regular stages spanning over 8000 km in total.

Recapping some of the Dakar Rally 2022 Highlights in the Cars Category:

Toyota Gazoo Team’s Proudly South African Hilux Takes The Win

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mattieu Baumel were not the first vehicles to cross the finish line. Still, nevertheless, the Team in a South African built Hilux secured a fourth championship in the cars category in a dominating performance.

Podium: A Close Contest For Second Between Toyota Gazoo And Bahrain Raid Xtreme

Being the winner in the crowd favourite category is a coveted position, but it is by no means an easy feat. Al-Attiyah has buckled under pressure before, but this year he and co-driver Baumel delivered a brilliant effort. The Qatari was determined to take the lead from the offset and succeeded in winning the two specials (1A and 1B) at the start of the race.

51-year-old Al-Attiyah claimed his fourth Dakar championship, completing the final stage 12 minutes and seven seconds faster than second-place Bahrain Raid Xtreme Team: Sébastien Loeb and co-driver Fabian Lurquin. The Team faltered in stage 3 due to a damaged driveshaft, resulting in a 50-minute disadvantage by the time rest day had arrived on the 8th of January. Despite this, the race for top spot remained tight between the two teams.

Yazeed Al Rajhi of Saudi Arabia and co-driver Michael Orr finished in third place, 1 hour, 1 minute and 13 seconds behind the leaders.

Notable Difficulties And Achievements

  • Audi Sport was off to a troubling start in the first stages, with Carlos Sainz making disastrous navigation errors and Stephane Peterhansel losing one of his rear wheels, paying an exceptionally high penalty in order to continue his Dakar journey.
  • South African driver Henk Lategan for Toyota Gazoo Racing also suffered a similar loss, suffering a puncture and losing one of his rear wheels at 142km of Stage 1B. However, a notable mention goes to the highest-ranking South African: 23-year old Bradley Cox, who finished in 23rd position – which is admirable considering this year was his first entry into the gruelling race and only second rally raid yet.
  • Benediktas Vanagas and Filipe Palmeiro of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Baltics team had one of the worst outings of the 2022 Dakar, with the pair’s vehicle taking flight and flipping head over heels in Stage 4.
  • SWR Raid Lynx Team drivers Pélichet jérôme Larroque Pascal had the only no-start withdrawal in the cars category with their car failing to start at stage 1B.

Looking To The Future

All eyes will be on French sportscar manufacturer ORECA who are endeavouring to participate in the 2023 Dakar Rally with a hybrid rally raid prototype. ORECA is following several teams’ footsteps in pursuing new technologies for cross-country rallying, as the 2024 Dakar is set to move towards alternative energy regulations.

Notably, Audi has adopted these new regulations, debuting its electric RS Q e-Tron this year. Prodrive’s Bahrain Raid Xtreme and Guerlain Chicherit’s GCK teams implemented the use of biofuel for their 2022 vehicles, with the GCK teams’ goal to develop a hydrogen-powered car for the 2024 Rally.

Why Is It Called The Dakar Rally?

Why Is It Called The Dakar Rally?

The Dakar Rally, organised by Amaury Sport Organisation, is one of the world’s most anticipated motorsports events every year. The Dakar consists of one stage per day that contains at least one ‘special’ each day of several hundred kilometres and can either be on or off-road. The event typically lasts for ten to fifteen days covering several thousand kilometres. Why is it called the Dakar Rally? Wilken Motorsport is here to share some of the event’s history.

How The Dakar Rally Began

An accident gave rise to the Dakar Rally. In 1977, Thierry Sabine, a French rider competing in the Abidjan-Nice rally, got lost in the Tenere Desert in South-Central Sahara. While trying to regain his bearings, Sabine realised that the desert would make a fantastic proving ground for a long-distance rally. Once he arrived back from his adventure, he considered organising some type of off-road endurance event.

The First Dakar Rally

The first Paris To Dakar was held 26 December 1978, with 182 participants lining up for the race. Only 74 of those riders finished the approximately 6,200-mile journey, thus giving rise to the Dakar Rally.

The Dakar Rally Today

This sport has produced innumerable sporting and human stories over the past thirty years. It has been a unique event sparked by a spirit of adventure and a message of friendship among all men.

The majority of adventure bikes, quads and rally cars that line up never make it to the finish line, with some years seeing a finish rate as low as 20%. Injury and mechanical failure are the two most common causes that end a competition, but the Dakar has also claimed more than 70 lives since the race’s inception.

Why Is It Called The Dakar Rally?

Originally, the Dakar Rally spanned Paris to Dakar and was appropriately dubbed “The Paris to Dakar Rally”. Today, the legendary rally raid is commonly referred to as the “Dakar Rally.” Though the rally’s location has changed over the years, it is one of, if not the most, gruelling motorsport event in the world. The Dakar Rally grew increasingly popular over the years, attracting elite racers as well as large sponsors. Each event has since become more sophisticated and organised.

The Top 5 Most Successful Dakar Rally Winners Of All Time

The Top 5 Most Successful Dakar Rally Winners Of All Time

To win the Dakar Rally is an amazing accomplishment. To win it more than once takes real determination. It is one of the toughest motorsports events in the world, taking a toll on both man and machine. Here are the top 5 most successful Dakar Rally winners in the race’s history.

  1. Jutta Kleinschmidt

Wins: 1

In the 1990s, Kleinschmidt joined the Dakar Rally, riding the iconic BMW cars and a KTM bike, later successfully switching to cars. Driving for Mitsubishi, she took overall victory in 2001.

At 58, she is now taking part in the inaugural season of the Extreme E off-road racing series. She is still the only woman to have won the Dakar and the only German to have won the event in the cars category.

  1. Pierre Lartigue

Wins: 3

Between 1994 and 1996, Lartigue won three events in a row while driving for Citroen. After leaving Citroen, he returned driving a protruck but retired from both events he entered. In the Dakar Rally, the French driver famously became only the second person to accomplish a  hat-trick, after Ari Vatanen.

  1. Nasser Al-Attiyah

Wins: 3

Nasser Al-Attiyah, who won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics for skeet shooting, has been a reliable competitor of the Dakar since 2004. This all-or-none type of driver, who has retired many times, has won 3 events. He has also placed 2nd in four other events. The fact that he has won at least one stage in every competition since 2007 adds to the impressive record.

  1. Ari Vatanen

Wins: 4

One of the few WRC drivers to successfully moonlight in Rally Raid events, the Flying Finn has actually achieved far greater success in the Dakar, winning the event four times, three times with Peugeot and once with Citroen.

  1. Stéphane Peterhansel

Wins: 14

A legend of rally racing, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel has won the Dakar Rally an incredible 14 times ‒ eight times in a car and six times on a motorcycle. His illustrious wins span three decades, winning his first Dakar stage in 1988. He has proudly represented several automotive names throughout his career, including Yamaha, Nissan, Mitsubishi, BMW, Mini and Peugeot.

Dakar Rally 2022 Location And Route: Prepare For Sand, Lots Of Sand!

Dakar Rally 2022 Location And Route: Prepare For Sand, Lots Of Sand!

Majestic sand dunes of Saudi Arabia will once again form the backdrop for the Dakar Rally 2022, the world’s toughest extreme motorsports event. The event has been hosted in Saudi Arabia since 2020, and next year’s route will explore the country’s southern regions.

Ha’il To Jeddah In 14 Days

In the past two years, The Dakar was focused in the deserts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital city, and passed the Red Sea coastline. The next edition will explore the Empty Quarter, surrounded by vast, mysterious stretches of sand, putting motor racing enthusiasts and their vehicles to the ultimate test. The Dakar Rally is known for its challenging terrains and the demands it places on drivers’ off-road navigation skills.

Participants will begin the event with scrutineering in Jeddah from December 29 to 31, 2021, before heading to Ha’il for the prologue and official start. Ha’il provides a gentle easing into the race, and the revving of engines on these sand dunes will mark the start of the Dakar Rally 2022. Ha’il was historically a stopover on the trade route linking the Red Sea and Mesopotamia. So as a place of rest and transit, the city has developed a welcoming feel. A bivouac will be set up to create an inviting atmosphere.

From Ha’il, racers will make their way through to Riyadh after completing some loops and showing off their driving prowess. They will have a short rest day in Riyadh, a city which extends over more than 1,500 km2 and is home to more than six million inhabitants. The Empty Quarter extends to the east of Riyadh and is one of the driest regions in the world, testing the endurance of Dakar drivers.

Final Destination: Jeddah

In the final stretch of the race, motorists will push for a two-day marathon, “old-fashioned style”, and complete their circuit in Jeddah on January 14, 2022. It will be an ultimate test of physical and mental endurance, mechanics and navigation, and as past races have proven, only the strongest will make it to the end. Jeddah is known as the Saudi kingdom’s economic hub, and travelling along the scenic Red Sea coastline en route to the podium will be a rewarding finish after the 8000km race.

Previous Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel and other race participants say they are looking forward to the Dakar Rally 2022 and excited to venture deeper into the sand sea of the Empty Quarter. So fasten your seatbelts! It’s bound to be nail-biting action all round.

The Dakar Rally: How It Works and How To Enter

The Dakar Rally: How It Works and How To Enter

The Dakar Rally is an annual rally raid where, in the past, participants traditionally drove from Paris to Dakar over 12 days. Currently, the entire race is held in Saudi Arabia due to unrest in Mauritania, where drivers would have to cross. The rally is completed using extremely modified off-road vehicles and motorcycles as the terrain is very tough and dangerous.

How It Works

The Dakar Rally covers thousands of kilometres over 10-12 days and, in the past, crossed multiple countries. There is one stage each day which can include on and off-road sections. The type of stage is determined by sporting penalties as well as the special stage times.

One of the challenges of the race is navigation, as participants have to orientate themselves and find their way through the race with a roadbook given to participants. These books are provided at each stage, so the actual course of the race is unknown until the crews receive them.

Each day’s starting positions are determined by how well participants did in the previous day’s timed section. This includes if racers have sporting penalties such as missing waypoints or link sector speeding. There is also a special marathon category of the race where competitors are not allowed support vehicles or teams to assist them throughout the race, which requires incredible skill and endurance.

How To Enter

Anyone can apply for the Dakar Rally as long as they hold an International FIA/FIM Cross-Country Rally license and are over 18 years of age. Prospective contestants also need to prove that they are able to cope with the gruelling and dangerous race by having competed in an event on the FIA/FIM calendars.

However, the organisers of the race have the rights reserved to deny entry of any competitor they deem too inexperienced in a competitive vehicle, motorbike racing or if they believe that a competitor is unfit to race. This is because the Dakar Rally is an extreme, dangerous and difficult race that could cause and has caused fatalities in the past.

The Dakar Rally is an ultra-endurance rally raid open to professionals and amateurs alike. This is an unforgettable adventure where people fulfil their dreams and can accomplish a huge personal challenge.