2022 Dakar Stage 11 – The penultimate stage saw the battle intensify between the title runners, as Bahrain Raid Xtreme’s Sébastien Loeb pushed the envelope on Nasser Al-Attiyah. Despite the special not being that long today at 346 km, it promised to be one of the most difficult, with the softest dunes of the rally so far.

Follow Double Apex on Instagram and Facebook where we share more car content.

Tough conditions

First on the road after his stage win yesterday, 14-time Dakar champion Stephane Peterhansel was faced with the task of making a trail for a field of fast drivers behind him.  By waypoint two, he had lost over 6 minutes 18 seconds to Audi teammate Carlos Sainz.

Early on, it was Lucio Alvarez in the Overdrive Toyota Hilux who lit up the timesheets at the first waypoint. The Argentinian led Nani Roma’s BRX at the first waypoint. But two-time WRC champion Sainz would strike back with his Audi over the following checkpoints, commanding the top of the scoring sheets from 126 km in.

Sainz would go on to record his 41st Dakar stage win and fourth for the Audi Sport team – an impressive feat for the RS Q E-tron’s debut Dakar. Alvarez was third fastest.

Buy now and take advantage of free delivery in South Africa on orders over R349.

Loeb closes in quickly

Overall standings leader Nasser Al-Attiyah kept within striking distance of the front runners. Never dropping below eighth fastest across the checkpoints. The Qatari is well wary of making any unnecessary mistakes as the world’s greatest rally raid draws to a close.

Al-Attiyah’s main rival for this year’s title is 9-time world rally champion Sébastien Loeb – who was trailing by little over half an hour after yesterday’s stage 10 in the overall classification. The WRC legend dropped the hammer in the first half of stage 11 to close in on Sainz and Peterhansel in his BRX. By the end of the stage, Loeb had clawed back 4 minutes 21 seconds on his Qatari rival to finish the day just 2 minutes 21 seconds behind Sainz.

Check out some photographic highlights from the first week’s race action at this link.

Al-Attiyah was third to hit the road, but by the first waypoint had lost time to the fast-charging Audis – perhaps opting to play it safe over the last few stages. More importantly, he started losing time to main championship rival Sébastien Loeb in his BRX. The Frenchman would go on to eat 1 minute 25 seconds into Al-Attiyah’s overall lead, on his way to fifth fastest. Al-Attiyah was seventh.

“We completed the stage without losing too much time. …only conceded a minute to Seb, so we’ll start in a decent position tomorrow. We had no punctures today; the car was just perfect, and Mathieu navigated well. We’re getting there, little by little. I said I didn’t want to take risks; I simply want to set a high pace. Finishing one minute down on Seb in a stage like today or yesterday’s is great,” Al-Attiyah said.

The South African Hiluxes vary

Henk Lategan had a stroke of bad luck yet again. At 80 km, he suffered some sort of mechanical failure. By midday, he had been stationary for more than an hour. Giniel De Villiers finished the stage fifth fastest, just 5 minutes 11 seconds behind Sainz.

Click here to read about one of Giniel de Villiers’ most memorable motoring moments.

On to the finale

After today’s loop around Bisha, tomorrow the Dakar circus heads toward Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh by way of a 680 km liaison and 164 km special.

General classification after 2022 Dakar Stage 11

  1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Gazoo Hilux) 36 hr 49 min 51 sec
  2. Sébastien Loeb (BRX) +28 min 19 sec
  3. Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Hilux) +1 hr 03 min 43 sec
  4. Orlando Terranova (BRX) +1 hr 31 min 29 sec
  5. Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) +1 hr 44 min 11 sec
  6. Jakub Przygonski (X-Raid Mini) +1 hr 51 min 57 sec
  7. Vladimir Vasilyev (VRT) +1 hr 59 min 49 sec
  8. Matthieu Serradori (SRT) +2 hr 34 min 19 sec
  9. Mattias Ekstrom (Audi) +2 hr 39 min 57 sec
  10. Sebastian Halpern (X-Raid Mini)  +2 hr 40 min 00 sec

Some fun 2022 Dakar Stage 11 moments:

Video credit: Dakar Rally