Dakar 2023: Loeb scores record sixth straight stage win

World Rally Championship legend Sebastien Loeb became the first driver in Dakar Rally history to score six consecutive stage wins after topping Saturday’s penultimate test in Saudi Arabia.

Having fallen out of contention for overall honours after multiple punctures and a roll in the opening days of the rally-raid, Bahrain Raid Xtreme driver has since turned his attention to individual stage victories, going all-out in his Prodrive Hunter in the second week of the event.

Since being handed a victory in Stage 8 due to a penalty for Carlos Sainz Sr, Loeb has been untouchable in the cars category - with his latest triumph on the 154km special between Shaybah and Al-Hofuf marking the continuation of his winning streak.

Although Stage 13 was one of the shortest of the event, Loeb’s winning margin over overall leader Nasser Al-Attiyah was an impressive 5m28s, the Frenchman making most of the gains in the second half of the day over the dunes.

The result means he has now leapfrogged former Peugeot star Ari Vatanen as the record-holder for the most number of Dakar stage wins in a row at six victories. Further, he has also become the first driver since Sainz in 2011 to win as many as seven stages in a single edition of Dakar, having also won Stage 4 last week.

Loeb’s unbroken streak in the second half of the event has been made possible by Toyota’s Al-Attiyah driving conservatively and not taking any major risks, focusing on top three results in each stage in order to safeguard his overall lead.

The Qatari driver once again finished near the front, ending the stage in second position after successfully holding off the sole surviving Audi of Mattias Ekstrom, who finished another minute adrift in third.

Behind, Eryk Goczal was a surprise fourth in his T4 class-entered Energylandia entry, beating the Toyotas of factory driver Henk Lategan and Overdrive’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi.

#200 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mathieu Baumel

#200 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota: Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mathieu Baumel

Photo by: A.S.O.

Jakub Pryzognski was the best finisher from the X-raid Mini team in seventh, ahead of rookie Lucas Moraes (Overdrive) and GCK Motorsport's Guerlain Chicherit.

In the overall standings, Al-Attiyah will take a near-unassailable lead of 1h21m42s into the final day of the rally, putting him on the cusp of a fifth career victory in Dakar and his second in a row.

Loeb has strengthened his bid to finish runner-up and is now over 13 minutes clear of Moraes, who looks set to finish as the rookie of the year after a consistent showing aboard his customer Toyota Hilux.

Factory Toyota duo de Villiers and Lategan are separated by around eight minutes in fourth and fifth positions respectively, with Martin Prokop next up in his Benzina entry.

A troubled day for Brian Baragwanath in which the Century driver flipped his car into a hole has elevated Overdrive's Juan Cruz Yacopini to seventh, ahead of Wei Han (Hanwei), Century team-mate Mathieu Serradori and Sebastian Halpern (X-raid).

Classification after Stage 13:

Position

Driver

Car

Time / gap

1

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Toyota

43hr48m10s 

2

Sebastien Loeb

Prodrive

+1hr21m42s

3

Locas Moraes

Toyota

+1hr35m50s

4

Giniel de Villiers

Toyota

+2hr30m44s

5

Henk Lategan

Toyota

+2hr38m20s

6

Martin Prokop

Benzina

+3hr39m13s

7

Juan Cruz Yacopini

Toyota

+4hr25m42s

8

Wei Han

SMG

+4hr26m01s

9

Mathieu Serradori

Century

+4hr28m31s

10

Sebastian Halpern

Mini

+4hr46m26s

shares
comments
Dakar 2023: Dominant Loeb makes it five stage wins in a row
Previous article

Dakar 2023: Dominant Loeb makes it five stage wins in a row

Next article

Dakar 2023: Al-Attiyah secures fifth event victory

Dakar 2023: Al-Attiyah secures fifth event victory
The positive future implications of Audi's creditable Dakar debut Plus

The positive future implications of Audi's creditable Dakar debut

OPINION: Audi has been a disruptive presence on the 2022 Dakar Rally, with its new hybrid RS Q e-tron taking three stage wins so far. Its impressive pace and resilience on one of the world’s toughest tests also bodes well for the Dakar’s future as it seeks to attract new manufacturers

Dakar
Jan 12, 2022
How Prodrive plans to use trial by Dakar to spur it to victory Plus

How Prodrive plans to use trial by Dakar to spur it to victory

Having tasted plenty of success in the World Rally Championship in the past, Prodrive took its off-road excursions to a new level with its first Dakar Rally entry this year. Now well-versed in the challenges that the famous rally-raid event possesses, Prodrive can learn from those lessons for next year's tilt at Dakar honours

Dakar
Jun 2, 2021
Why Loeb has joined forces with an old enemy for Dakar Plus

Why Loeb has joined forces with an old enemy for Dakar

The nine-time World Rally champion is heading to the Dakar Rally with an all-new project, and is joining up with the team he often fought against in the WRC - Prodrive - in his quest to finally add the most famed rally raid of them all to his bulging CV

Dakar
Dec 4, 2020
Richards on Prodrive's new Dakar challenge Plus

Richards on Prodrive's new Dakar challenge

With a stunning success record in motorsport, Prodrive is targeting a new crown by entering the 2021 Dakar Rally. David Richards provides an update on the programme, how COVID has slowed its plans and its options on who sits behind the wheel of its new car

Dakar
Jul 16, 2020
Why Alonso is already exceeding expectations in Dakar bid Plus

Why Alonso is already exceeding expectations in Dakar bid

How significant was Fernando Alonso's first cross-country rallying podium on a Saudi Arabian event last weekend? Very. The next leg of his post-F1 quest for versatile glory is going very well so far...

Dakar
Nov 12, 2019
What Alonso learned from his best Dakar test yet Plus

What Alonso learned from his best Dakar test yet

Double Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso took on one of his biggest challenges yet in the five-day Dakar warm-up event, Rally Morocco. Alonso gives his thoughts on his progress in a "bittersweet" event, and whether he will contest the Dakar

Dakar
Oct 10, 2019
Why Alonso must heed Loeb's Dakar failures Plus

Why Alonso must heed Loeb's Dakar failures

Fernando Alonso is edging closer to a Dakar debut, but he should take heed of the lessons rallying legend Sebastien Loeb has learned through several near-misses, despite his promising performances at the event

Dakar
Aug 22, 2019
Why Loeb cannot be allowed to give up on Dakar Plus

Why Loeb cannot be allowed to give up on Dakar

Sebastien Loeb has been the fastest man on the Dakar Rally since he first appeared on the legendary event, but he's still not won it after four dramatic attempts. That story cannot end here

Dakar
Jan 20, 2019