The first stage of the 2024 Dakar Rally had its fair share of drama. Several big name teams suffered punctures early in the stage, which ultimately cost them time. Read more about the opening stage here. 2024 Dakar stage 2 took racers into the big dunesfor the first time. The stage was a 463-km timed section from Henakiyah to Al Duwadimi.

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Making History

Guillaume de Mevius (Overdrive Toyota) had a opening day at the Dakar Rally that he won’t soon forget. He opened the stage today after securing his maiden win in the Ultimate Car class yesterday. The Toyota driver emerged victorious from a thrilling duel with Carlos Sainz (Audi) to become the fifth Belgian driver to triumph in this class.

Defending champion Nasser Al Attiyah (BRX) suffered two punctures in the first 50 km of yesterday’s special. He therefore had to play it safe to finish the stage without losing too much time in the overall. The Qatari already has a deficit of almost 25 minutes to Guillaume de Mevius going into today.

Faster Progress

Stage 1 was a rock-strewn affair, which meant the average speed was a lot slower than 2024 Dakar stage 2. Today’s stage was the first visit into the big dunes, which formed part of the early section. Thereafter teams were faced with fast sandy sections.

Click here to learn more about the SA-built Hilux race machine.

Mr Dakar, Stéphane Peterhansel (Audi) was quickest at the first time check. He was 39 seconds ahead of Al-Attiyah and 57 clear of teammate Carlos Sainz. At one point 11 vehicles were covered by just two minutes. Seth Quintero (Toyota) rose through the time sheets to lead for a bit. Quintero and Peterhansel traded times with the Audi driver taking a leading role into the latter part of the time special.

WRC champ Sebastien Loeb was making up for his time loss yesterday by charging through the field into the top three. Loeb was just five seconds behind Peterhansel after 342 km of racing. Local driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Toyota) was also quick today running as high as 4th. After an impressive drive into the top three in stage two, SA lad Giniel de Villiers lost 20 minutes through the middle part of today, dropping him down the order.

At the Flag

The battle between the two French pilots raged until the finish line. Ultimately, it was Peterhansel who set the fastest time, 29 seconds ahead of his countryman Loeb, to scoop up record-equaling fiftieth career Dakar stage win. He holds the honour of the most stage wins with Ari Vatanen. We’ll bet that he will grab his 51st during this year’s event.

New boy Quintero (Toyota) showed that his prologue pace was no fluke by claiming the final podium spot. Al-Attiyah was fourth ahead of Al-Rajhi. The first South African driver today was Guy Botterill (Toyota) in 12th with his teammate De Villiers just outside the top 20.

Big Gainer

The biggest gain on the day was made by Carlos Sainz (Toyota) who climbed to the top of the overall standings. The Spaniard leads Al-Rajhi and Loeb. Stage one winner Guillaume de Mevius dropped to fifth behind Quintero. The top placed South Africans in the general standings are Botterill and De Villiers who are just outside the top ten.

Overall Standings after 2024 Dakar Stage 2

  1. Carlos Sainz (Audi) 8 hr 49 min 38 sec
  2. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Overdrive Toyota) +1 min 51 sec
  3. Sebastien Loeb (BRX) +4 min 17 sec
  4. Seth Quintero (Toyota) +7 min 36 sec
  5. Guillaume de Mevius (Overdrive Racing) +7 min 44 sec
  6. Mattias Ekstrom (Audi) +11 min 17 sec
  7. Nasser Al-Attiyah (BRX) +12 min 16 sec
  8. Lucas Moraes (Toyota Gazoo Racing) +12 min 17 sec
  9. Stephane Peterhansel (Audi) +13 min 16 sec
  10. Guerlain Chicherit (Overdrive Racing) +14 min 47 sec