The 2024 Dakar Rally took its traditional mid-race break on Saturday. The was loads of drama during the first week of racing. Read more about the opening week of the race at this link. Racers may have taken a break from a tough week of racing, but there was plenty of work to do for the support crews. Racing resumed on Sunday with 2024 Dakar stage 7. The stage was over 800 km with 483 km of that timed.

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Some big names fell out of contention in the opening week of racing. These include, race leader at the time, Yazeed Al-Rajhi, Stephane Peterhansel and defending champ Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Bad Start

The Audi trio was going well in the latter part of last week. That is until Peterhansel suffered hydraulic failure on his car that cost him valuable time. Today was the turn of his teammate Mattias Ekstrom. The youngest member of that team ground to a halt early in the stage. Help from his support team arrived late to help fix his stranded steed.

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

Fast Starters

This is the week to push as some crews have big time deficits to make up. Toyota drivers Quintero, Chicherit and Moraes were quick out the blocks. The trio traded times at the top of the timesheets. However, the Prodrive Hunter teammates, Sebastien Loeb and Al-Attiyah were also quick. The Frenchman wrested the stage lead from Moraes about three quarter way through the stage.

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

Loeb, who doesn’t enjoy opening the road, was quick throughout the day. He maintained his lead over his nearest pursuers. Sainz, who went into the day as overall leader, bled time to Loeb. Moraes was also in the mix.

Stage Winner

But there was one man whose pace was just too much for all challengers today. Sébastien Loeb stormed to victory on 2024 Dakar stage 7. He claimed his third stage win of the year and his 26th in total. The Frenchman was pleased to gain time on Carlos Sainz: “Ekström being eliminated was great… but there’s another one left. Gaining time on Carlos Sainz is good news.”

Lucas Moraes was classified second ahead of Nasser Al-Attiyah. Carlos Sainz was fourth and Chicherit was fifth. Giniel de Villier was, yet again, the fastest South African driver on the stage in 11th place.

Leader Unchanged

Sainz maintains his overall lead of the race. However, Loeb has eaten to his lead and lies in second place thanks to Ekstrom’s woes. Moraes is now in the the final podium position. De Villiers lies in fifth, but has lost ground to those ahead.

Overall Standings after 2024 Dakar Stage 7

  1. Carlos Sainz (Audi) 30 hr 06 min 42 sec
  2. Sebastien Loeb (BRX)  +19 min 00 sec
  3. Lucas Moraes (Toyota Gazoo Racing) +1 hr 00 min 35 sec
  4. Guillaume de Mevius (Overdrive Toyota) +1 hr 30 min 50 sec
  5. Giniel de Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing) +1 hr 40 min 07 sec
  6. Martin Prokop (Orlen) +1 hr 50 min 40 sec
  7. Mathieu Serradori (CRT) +1 hr 52 min 50 sec
  8. Guerlain Chicherit (Overdrive Toyota) +1 hr 58 min 40 sec
  9. Guy Botterill (Toyota Gazoo Racing) +2 hr 11 min 16 sec
  10. Benediktas Vanagas (Baltics Toyota) +2 hr 22 min 53 sec