All teams took a break after the sixth stage to re-group for the second week of action. 2022 Dakar Rally Stage 7 was the first after the rest day. The stage took place from Riyadh to Al Dawadimi. The 701-km stage consisted of a 402-km timed section for racers to compete on.
Orlando Terranova (Hunter T1+) was the first car away this morning thanks to winning stage six on Friday. The early pace, however, was set by the Audis. Dakar rookie Mattias Ekström briefly led the timesheets before his teammate Carlos Sainz took over. South African driver Henk Lategan (Toyota) also had a good run early this morning.
Giniel De Villiers (Toyota) ran into serious trouble at km 198 when his car was hit with a mechanical problem. His Gazoo Racing teammate, Henk Lategan, rushed to his rescue. De Villiers, who entered the stage lying fourth overall has now dropped down to 9th place. This, after his 5-hour penalty, was rescinded on Friday evening.
As usual, the drivers who are at the sharp end of the overall classification were also in the running. Sébastien Loeb (Hunter) and Nasser Al-Attiyah were quick through the latter part of the timed section. By km 220 the Frenchman had gained 4 min 30 seconds on the Qatari driver.
Loeb claimed his second stage victory today by setting a very fast pace. No one could live with the pace set by the Hunter T1+ machine and the French former WRC champ was over five minutes quicker than Al-Attiyah, who was second, over the timed section. Yazeed Al-Rajhi finished on the bottom step of the stage podium. Al-Attiyah’s lead has been cut down by Loeb with the final five stages to run (see below for more).
General classification after 2022 Dakar Stage 7
- Nasser Al-Attiyah (Gazoo Hilux) 23 hr 52 min 22 sec
- Sébastien Loeb (BRX) +44 min 59 sec
- Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Hilux) +53 min 31 sec
- Lucio Alvarez (Overdrive Hilux) +1 hr 15 min 09 sec
- Jakub Przygonski (X-Raid Mini) +1 hr 30 min 04 sec
- Orlando Terranova (BRX) +1 hr 36 min 55 sec
- Vladimir Vasilyev (VRT) +1 hr 39 min 47 sec
- Martin Prokop (Orlen) +1 hr 44 min 48 sec
- Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) +1 hr 47 min 14 sec
- Sebastian Halpern (X-Raid Mini) +1 hr 58 min 24 sec