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Stage report

Dakar 2024: Stage 11: Sainz closes in on victory after Loeb’s challenge falters

Carlos Sainz has moved to within touching distance of the 2024 Dakar Rally victory after main rival Sebastien Loeb suffered damage that lost him vital time on Stage 11. 

#204 Team Audi Sport Audi RS Q e-tron E2: Carlos Sainz Sr, Lucas Cruz

Audi Communications Motorsport

The rocky Al-’Ula to Yanbu 420km test, won by Guerlain Chicherit for Overdrive Toyota, appears to be the deciding stage for overall victory at this year’s Dakar with Sainz moving into a healthy 1h27m06s lead. 

Loeb, who cut Sainz’s lead to under 14 minutes yesterday, was on the attack during the opening running but at 132km he suffered a broken front right A-arm on his Provide Hunter in a heavy landing following a jump and was stranded without initial mechanical support. 

The nine-time World Rally champion was given assistance by Zi Yungang driving for YunXiang China in a fellow Hunter car and was able to resume having lost over an hour and a quarter. 

Sainz, who had been battled for the stage lead at the time, duly played it slightly safer on the rocky terrain which allowed Chicherit to overhaul him and pull clear for his second consecutive stage win. 

Chicherit took the stage triumph by 5m32s from Overdrive team-mate Guillaume de Mevius, who pipped Sainz by three seconds, but the Audi driver won’t be disheartened given his almost 90-minute overall advantage. 

#203 Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter: Sebastien Loeb, Fabian Lurquin

Photo by: A.S.O.

#203 Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter: Sebastien Loeb, Fabian Lurquin

With de Mevius promoted to second overall for Overdrive Toyota, Loeb remains in the fight for the podium in third place, after Toyota’s Lucas Moraes stopped on the stage with 60km to go. 

Current runner-up de Mevius has nearly eight minutes in hand over Loeb in third, with stage winner Chicherit up to fourth, 7m18s further back. 

Martin Prokop completed the current top five in the Orlen Jipocar Ford, ahead of Toyota trio Guy David Botterill, Giniel de Villiers and Benediktas Vanagas.  

Moraes limped home in his Toyota having lost over two hours to the leaders, to drop from third to ninth in the overall standings, as Century’s Mathieu Serradori rounded out the top 10. 

Tomorrow’s Stage 12 brings an end to this year’s Dakar Rally, with the relatively smoother 175km Yanbu loop expected to see Sainz wrap up his fourth Dakar title. 

Provisional classification after Stage 11 (Top 10 only):

Position

Driver

Car

Time / gap

1

Carlos Sainz

Audi

46h23m47s

2

Guillaume de Mevius

Toyota

+1h27m06s

3

Sebastien Loeb

Prodrive

+1h36m02s

4

Guerlain Chicherit

Toyota

+1h42m20s

5

Martin Prokop

Ford

+2h17m47s

6

Guy Botterill

Toyota

+2h41m31s

7

Giniel de Villiers

Toyota

+2h51m09s

8

Benediktas Vanagas

Toyota

+3h01m36s

9

Lucas Moraes

Toyota

+3h06m42s

10

Mathieu Serradori

Century

+3h09m17s

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