The 2024 Dakar Rally is over. After 5 000 km of racing over 13 days, the dust has settled as the race ended with 2024 Dakar stage 12. This was a rather short, 174 km loop that started and ended in the town of Yanbu. The stage seemed to be a fast one without too many navigational issues or tricky terrain for competitors to deal with before arrival at the finish line of the 46th edition of this famous race.

A Fourth Win

The Dakar represents a year of preparation for the top teams, and probably a lifetime of saving for many privateers. After the countless punctures, missed waypoints, crashes, broken suspension parts and blown engines, it was Carlos Sainz who triumphed in the ‘Ultimate’ car category.

Read more Dakar Rally stage results at this link.

Interestingly, Sainz won the 2024 Dakar without taking a single stage win. Three different manufacturers won stages in the car category this year. Prodrive led the way with six victories, five of which went to Sébastien Loeb and one to Nasser Al Attiyah (the 7th manufacturer with which he has won on the Dakar). Toyota won four stages with three different drivers: a brace for Guerlain Chicherit and one each for Guillaume de Mevius and Lucas Moraes. For Audi, Mattias Ekström has won twice and Stéphane Peterhansel once (his 50th victory).

Stage Winner

Loeb proved he has the outright pace by winning the final stage. He was five minutes ahead of Guillaume de Mevius (Overdrive Toyota) who had an excellent second week of the race. Vaidotas Zala (Mini) was third today. Chicherit was fourth ahead of Krzysztof Hołowczyc (Mini). The top-finishing South African driver on 2024 Dakar stage 12 was Gareth Woolridge (Ford) in seventh place. Sainz was 17th at the end of today’s special, obviously nursing his car to the line with the massive lead he enjoyed starting the day.

Fizzled Out

In the first week of action it looked as though we’d enjoy a titanic battle waged between masters of this form of racing. One by one the challengers succumbed, either through crashes or mechanical failure. ‘El Matador’ prevailed with a cool head, and more than a little help from his Audi teammates. This is the fourth Dakar win for the Spaniard rally after victories in 2010, 2018 and 2020. This is also Audi’s first title, and its last for now. The German brand exits this form of racing at the end of the year as it turns its attention to Formula One (more info here).

Click here to check out some beautiful imagery captured during the first week of the 2024 race.

The fast but fragile Prodrive Hunter could not deliver a maiden win to Loeb, who finished in third place this year. Al-Attiyah’s hopes of defending his Dakar title faded as his steed proved mechanically unreliable. He eventually bowed out a few days ago and his future at Prodrive seems to be in question.

SA Connection

South African crews acquitted themselves well at the 46th Dakar Rally. Rookie Guy Botterill (Toyota Gazoo Racing) finished sixth, making him the top-placed SA driver and rookie in the final standings. His teammate Giniel de Villiers delivered another top 10 performance in his 21st Dakar outing. Their 18-year-old rookie teammate Saood Variawa was 17th overall ahead of some season campaigners. Six of the top nine finishers were driving SA-built Toyota Hiluxes.

There were plenty of SA-built machines up and down the field. Tenth place went to Mathieu Serradori in a CRT that is also made in SA. The CRT race machines are built here and there were about a dozen in the field this year. The two M-Sport Ford Rangers are built by NWM in Pietermaritzburg. The Red Lined Revo bakkies are also made in SA.

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Overall Standings after 2024 Dakar Stage 12

  1. Carlos Sainz (Audi) 48 hr 15 min 18 sec
  2. Guillaume de Mevius (Overdrive Toyota) +1 hr 20 min 25 sec
  3. Sebastien Loeb (BRX) +1 hr 25 min 12 sec
  4. Guerlain Chicherit (Overdrive Toyota) +1 hr 35 min 59 sec
  5. Martin Prokop (Orlen) +2 hr 16 min 43 sec
  6. Guy Botterill (Toyota Gazoo Racing) +2 hr 40 min 33 sec
  7. Giniel de Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing) +2 hr 50 min 26 sec
  8. Benediktas Vanagas (Baltics Toyota) +2 hr 57 min 17 sec
  9. Lucas Moraes (Toyota Gazoo Racing) +3 hr 03 min 12 sec
  10. Mathieu Serradori (CRT) +3 hr 04 min 12 sec