The 2022 Dakar Rally was full of excitement and drama, but at the same time, it gave us the opportunity to learn and analyze some things. Let’s take a look at the main conclusions we have got after 2 weeks of racing in the Saudi Arabian desert.
1. You cannot succeed in Dakar without being consistent at every stage
The Dakar Rally is a 2-week event that is a huge challenge for any competitor. Naturally, it is needed to complete the route faster than anyone else to win the event, but you don’t necessarily have to be the quickest. You need to consistently be at the top positions and avoid any issues either with navigation or the vehicle. That was Francisco Lopez Contardo’s case – he failed to win a stage in the lightweight prototypes, but did not have any major problems and was quicker than the opponents which helped him win the rally.
2. Seth Quintero’s performance is one of the most dominant in Dakar’s history
The 2022 Dakar Rally will be remembered for a long time thanks to Quintero’s performance. The American managed to win 12 out of 13 stages in the lightweight prototypes category – a new record. He did not leave a chance for his opponents as he often led at every waypoint, and even the fact that he had to open the path for everyone else did not stop him.
Quintero only missed out on winning stage 2. In fact, he had to withdraw from the stage after a mechanical issue, something that did not allow him to compete for the overall victory. Still, the American had a historic run.
3. Everything can happen at any moment
The 44th edition of the Dakar Rally gave us one of the most dramatic moments on the final day of the event. The battle for the win in the SSVs class was on until stage 12. Gerard Farres Guell was 1 minute and 54 seconds ahead of his teammate Austin Jones in the overall standings with just 44 kilometers left.
All Farres Guell needed to do is to reach the finish without any problems, but he suffered an electric issue. Jones capitalized on his opponent’s problem and got the Dakar victory at the final kilometers of the whole event. This is why you need to be alert until the very end!
4. Hybrid vehicles are the future of Dakar
Audi were one of the most interesting entries at this year’s Dakar Rally. They made their debut with the hybrid RS Q e-tron car, driven by Stephane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz, and Mattias Ekstrom. Though none of them was in contention for the overall victory, they managed to win 4 stages and even had the chance to win more. In general, it was a successful debut for the German manufacturer, which showed that hybrid vehicles can be fast at Dakar.
5. Never give up at Dakar!
The Dakar Rally rewards those who keep fighting no matter what and this year is not an exception. Danilo Petrucci’s first Dakar Rally was affected by a fuel pump issue on stage 2. He was not able to finish the stage but kept going in the rally. It paid off – he won stage 5, having become the first MotoGP rider to win a Dakar Rally stage.
A similar situation happened to the 2021 bikes winner Kevin Benavides. His title defense was over after he failed to finish stage 10. He entered stage 11 to help his KTM teammate Matthias Walkner who was in contention for the overall win. Benavides was quick the whole day and went on to win the stage, just 4 seconds ahead of the runner-up Sam Sunderland.