Manuel Andujar, Marek Goczal, and Eduard Nikolaev emerged victorious after the quads, SSVs, and trucks conquered stage 1A of the 2022 Dakar Rally.

The quads class led the pack of vigilant riders away on the first day of Dakar 2022. Today’s stage included a 19km special, a mere fraction of the distance the competitors will travel throughout the upcoming days of Dakar action.

Manuel Andujar began his Dakar title defense early by prevailing over Alexandre Giroud in the quads class. He made it to the end of the 19km special 1 minute and 35 seconds quicker than Giroud after the pair left Jeddah 20th and 17th respectively.

Giovanni Enrico came close to claiming a Dakar Rally title last year but settled for runner-up behind Andujar. The Chilean rider crossed the line to complete the special a minute slower than Giroud, claiming third place in Stage 1A.

The top 5 of the 2022 Dakar Rally stage 1A in the quads category:

PosRiderTeamTime/Gap
1Manuel Andujar7240 Team1:10:10
2Alexandre GiroudYamaha Racing+1:35
3Giovanni EnricoEnrico Racing Team+2:35
4Thomas KubienaStory Racing S.R.O+6:45
5Italo PedemonteEnrico Racing Team+6:45

The SSV class, previously known as UTVs, kicked off with 2021 runner-up Austin Jones leading the 47 cars away alongside Gustavo Gugelmin.

The no.401 car ended up in P4 at the end of the special, trailing the fastest car by 36 seconds. The duo that snatched the fastest time of the prologue was the no.410 car of Marek Goczal and Lukasz Laskawiec.

Goczal made it to the end 14 seconds quicker than his brother Michal, who is driving alongside Szymon Gospodarczyk.

The two Cobant-Energylandia entries were trailed by South Racing’s Rodrigo Luppi De Oliveira and Maykel Justo. This pair ended the prologue 4 seconds slower than Michal Goczal.

It was quite a tight gap, although the SSVs completed the 19km special in a little over 13 minutes.

The top 5 of the 2022 Dakar Rally stage 1A in the SSVs category:

PosDriversTeamTime/Gap
1Marek GoczalCobant-Energylandia Rally Team0:13:22
2Michal GoczalCobant-Energylandia Rally Team+0:14
3Rodrgio Luppi De OlivieraSouth Racing Can-Am+0:18
4Austin JonesCan-am Factory South Racing+0:36
5Aron DomzalaCan-Am Factory South Racing+0:45

Seth Quintero led the stage in the lightweight prototypes, ahead of his teammate Andreas Mikkelsen and Francisco Lopez Contardo, who completed the top 3.

The top 5 of the 2022 Dakar Rally stage 1A in the lightweight prototypes category:

Pos.DriverTeamTime/Gap
1Seth QuinteroRed Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA0:13:07
2Andreas MikkelsenRed Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA+0:03
3Francisco Lopez ContardoEKS-South Racing+0:05
4Guillaume De MeviusRed Bull Off-Road Team USA+0:24
5Sebastian ErikossonEKS-South Racing+0:41

The 2021 winner of the trucks category Dmitry Sotnikov departed Jeddah as the first of the trucks to embark on stage 1A.

The four-time Dakar Rally champion Eduard Nikolaev topped the charts for Kamaz. The remaining three Kamaz trucks followed to achieve a 1-2-3-4 for the team.

Sotnikov finished in second place, 7 seconds behind Nikolaev. Meanwhile, Andrey Karginov trailed the lead by 15 seconds and Anton Shibalov followed narrowly behind.

The first of the remaining teams on the timing sheets was Tatra Buggyra Racing. Ignacio Casale rounded out the top 5 in that no.511 truck, only missing out on P4 by 3 seconds.

The top 5 of the 2022 Dakar Rally stage 1A in the trucks category:

PosDriverTeamTime/Gap
1Eduard NikolaevKamaz0:13.01
2Dmitry SotnikovKamaz+0:07
3Andrey KarginovKamaz+0:15
4Anton ShibalovKamaz+0:24
5Ignacio CasaleTatra Buggyra Racing+0:27

I am a 17-year-old motorsport fan and writer who possesses a strong passion for machines that go fast. I am from Australia but I aspire to be a journalist covering motor racing series and events all over the globe.