2022 Dakar Rally Stage 6 was the same tracks as used for stage 5, albeit driven in the reverse direction. The timed section was a long loop, of 421 km, around Riyadh. Today the bikes and quads rejoined the heavier machinery as they all used the same route.

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Hard chargers

At the first check point this morning Sébastien Loeb (BRX Hunter) and Henk Lategan (Toyota Hilux) achieved the exact same time. The South African driver must still be on a high after his maiden Dakar stage victory yesterday, and keen to show that he is a real contender for the future.

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Back and forth

At the first check point, Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota), who started after his main rivals, took the lead briefly, before Carlos Sainz (Audi) topped the time sheets. The lead swayed back and forth between several drivers including Jakub Przygoński (Orlen) and local driver Yazeed Al Rajhi (Toyota).

Later in the stage Loeb and Lategan lost more than a quarter of an hour to Al-Attiyah after both crews made the same navigational error. This opened the door for Al-Attiyah and Al Rajhi to take the stage lead after km 120. Later in the stage Al Rajhi fell back bringing Orlando Terranova into play, the BRX Hunter driver slipping into second place.

Surprise winner

When everyone crossed the line it was Argentinian Terranova who won the sixth stage. This is the driver’s first stage victory since 2015. Mattias Ekstrom (Audi) was second, followed home by local driver Al Rajhi. South African Brian Baragwanath (Century Racing) was fourth ahead of Nani Roma.

The next South African driver was Shameer Variawa (Toyota) in seventh. Overall race leader Al-Attiyah was 10th today with his teammate Giniel de Villiers in 14th. There is a change in the overall standings as Sebastien Loeb has been overtaken for second place by Al Rajhi (more below). Al-Attiyah holds a commanding lead as the crews take a much-needed rest tomorrow.

Big News

Massive news for SA fans is that the five-hour penalty imposed on Giniel de Villiers has been removed. New evidence was admitted by Toyota Gazoo Racing which absolved the former winner from any wrongdoing against a rider earlier in the race.

“Significant and relevant new evidence has been provided by Toyota Gazoo Racing that was not available at the time of the decision,” read an FIA bulletin. “The stewards are therefore re-examining decision 14 on the basis of the new evidence provided. After reviewing and considering all the evidence, the stewards have concluded that no offence was committed by the driver, decision No 14 is withdrawn on that basis,” the statement read.

The Capetonian driver rockets back up the leaderboard with the five-hour penalty removed. He now lies in fourth place within striking distance of his nearest rivals and in with a real shot at a podium finish.

General classification after 2022 Dakar Stage 6

  1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Gazoo Hilux) 17 hr 24 min 23 sec
  2. Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Hilux) +48 min 54 sec
  3. Sébastien Loeb (BRX) +50 min 25 sec
  4. Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) +51 min 56 sec
  5. Lucio Alvarez (Overdrive Hilux) +1 hr 06 min 58 sec
  6. Jakub Przygonski (X-Raid Mini) +1 hr 16 min 25 sec
  7. Vladimir Vasilyev (VRT) +1hr 22 min 08 sec
  8. Orlando Terranova (BRX) +1 hr 25 min 16 sec
  9. Martin Prokop (Orlen) +1 hr 30 min 30 sec
  10. Sebastian Halpern (X-Raid Mini) +1 hr 37 min 25 sec

Check out this crazy on-board crash footage and quick recovery: