Seth Quintero breaks single-Dakar stage record with 11th win

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Credit: Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

When Seth Quintero won the tenth stage of the Dakar Rally on Wednesday to tie Pierre Lartigue‘s 1994 record for the most stage wins in the event’s history, he wrote on Instagram, “Today we shook hands with history, tommorow we try to break it.”

A day later, he broke it.

Quintero, aided by navigator Dennis Zenz, set the fastest time in the Light Prototype class in Stage #11 on Thursday of three hours, fifty-seven minutes, and fifty-three seconds to win his eleventh stage. Even more impressive is that Quintero accomplished it in twelve stages (the first stage is divided into 1A and 1B), while Lartigue reached his mark of ten when the 1994 Rally had seventeen. He also won the Prologue prior to the main Rally.

The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA duo have won every stage so far except for Stage #2, which saw them leading by five minutes before a differential failure doomed their hopes of a clean sweep. Fellow Red Bull driver Guillaume De Mevius won that stage, but retired from the Rally three stages later due to critical rollcage damage.

The 19-year-old Quintero was more than eager to celebrate his historic achievement while also calling out those critical of the feat.

“Today, we made history,” began an Instagram post by Quintero. “First off i wanted to say thank you to EVERYONE that has been supporting me through this crazy journey. Even if I didn’t get a chance to respond or see your message, I’m still thankful just know that. Your guys messages are what kept me waking up and trying everyday for these last 12 days, and without all of you there’s no chance I would’ve been able to pull it together mentally. I did this not for myself at all, In fact I’m the last person i did this for. I tried everyday to make all of you proud. That’s all i wanted to do for the past 2 weeks I didn’t want to let anyone down. And I’m glad j can bring this record home for ALL OF US !

“On another note to all the haters, thank you too. Yep, you kept me up and night, thinking why am I even doing this, but I’d wake up the next morning and use that as fuel, so for that I thank you. Im already seeing peoples comments downplaying what We are trying to accomplish/ what we’ve accomplished and honestly I didn’t want to address any of it but I won’t lie, it’s in my head and it’s frustrating. Is what it is I guess. For everyone saying if it was the old rules I would’ve been disqualified because I didn’t finish stage two, well i did. I got towed for 6+ hours by another competitor to stay in the general rankings. Don’t worry I’ll throw some videos up for you[.]

“I’ll use this as fuel for a long time coming. We’ve worked our [peach emoji, a euphemism for “asses”] off for a long time and this bit of success tastes so sweet. Im addicted and I want more. I love rally raid and this is only the beginning. [Beer emoji, “Cheers”] to many more years of fun, can’t wait to bring you all along on this journey[.]”

Despite the domination, Quintero sits eighteenth overall in the class due to his second-stage retirement; he is over fourteen hours behind leader Francisco López Contardo. While his hopes of winning the class are dashed, all he can do now is continue to wipe the floor with his rivals.

Quintero, an American from California, finished eighteenth in his Dakar début in 2021. He won Stages #6 and 11, and at the age of eighteen became the youngest to score a Dakar stage victory.

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History major at San Jose State University and lifelong motorsports fan who covers NASCAR and the Stadium Super Trucks.
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