World Rally-Raid Championship

2022 Andalucia Rally: Leaders fall in Stage 3

3 Mins read
Credit: Andalucía Rally

As the penultimate leg in the 2022 World Rally-Raid Championship, one could not afford any mistakes or misfortunes while running the Andalucía Rally‘s third stage. Alas, many were not so fortunate as various drivers and riders crashed or had disappointing runs that have left their W2RC class title hopes on thin ice.

This wave of disaster hit both two- and four-wheel classes, including the headlining T1 where Nasser Al-Attiyah lost his W2RC and race overall lead to Sébastien Loeb. Although Al-Attiyah was able to salvage a fourth-place class finish, his time of 3:48:49 was over eleven minutes worse than Loeb’s stage-winning 3:37:01. As Al-Attiyah had an eleven-minute and twenty-second overall gap on Loeb entering Stage #3, the latter retakes the top spot on both fronts and clings onto a general twenty-eight-minute advantage.

Cristina Gutiérrez‘s hopes of back-to-back T3 championships were dashed after a dismal stage in which her car came to a stop before finishing twelfth in class, eight spots behind class points leader Francisco López Contardo. Gutiérrez had already faced an uphill battle as she was twenty-eight back of López entering Andalucía, but she only trailed him by six minutes after Stage #1B. As such, López became the second driver to clinch a W2RC FIA class title and third in general, joining T5 champ Kees Koolen and Rally2 titlist Mason Klein who both secured theirs at the Rallye du Maroc. Guillaume de Mevius won the stage ahead of fellow Red Bull driver Seth Quintero.

The slightest slip was especially fatal in the T4 championship battle, where the top three were separated by just three points. Although Marek Goczał assumed the lead following Stage #1B, his prospects were literally turned upside-down when his Can-Am flipped. While he and co-driver Łukasz Łaskawiec were unharmed, the wreck has eliminated them from the title picture. Rokas Baciuškas finished second in class to non-W2RC driver Gerard Farrés Guell to give him the edge over Austin Jones in the standings.

Although out of RallyGP contention, Ross Branch was subject to his own heartbreak when he crashed 100 metres before the finish and stage win. This allowed Kevin Benavides to take the leg victory, though Branch still salvaged a runner-up finish. Adrien van Beveren was third to maintain his overall lead. Ricky Brabec‘s dark horse shot at the W2RC title still has some life as he finished fourth to Sam Sunderland‘s eleventh, though Sunderland remains ahead in the overall by thirteen minutes.

Klein continues to dominate Rally2 as he won his second stage. Likewise, Jeremy Miroir is now three-for-three in Andalucía and leads Rajendra Revallar Eshwarappa by one hour and forty-two minutes.

The Quad duel between Kamil Wiśniewski and points leader Alexandre Giroud initially came down to just fifty-three seconds in the stage, though Wiśniewski was subsequently penalised ten minutes and dropped to third behind Giroud and Juraj Varga. Giroud remains first overall.

Mitch Guthrie snapped Stéphane Peterhansel‘s run atop the Open classes as his 3:56:40 trumped the latter’s 4:20:14, though Peterhansel has the overall locked up by over two hours

Those with rough outings on Saturday probably would have been able to develop a cushion to soften their woes had Stage #2 not been cancelled due to inclement weather. Rain and fog also forced Stage #3 to be delayed for over an hour. The loss of the previous stage means the rally will not reach 900 kilometres in special stages, so the FIA will only award half points to the T1, T3, and T4 categories for the final leg on Sunday.

Stage #3 winners

T1201Sébastien LoebBahrain Raid Xtreme3:37:01
T2214José Gameiro*Mracing Portugal8:13:45
T3307Guillaume de MeviusRed Bull Off-Road Junior Team3:50:13
T4405Gerard Farrés Guell*South Racing Can-Am4:00:35
RallyGP1Kevin BenavidesRed Bull KTM Factory Racing3:46:32
Rally2101Mason KleinBAS World KTM Racing Team3:53:56
Rally3151Jeremy MiroirDB Motors4:05:17
Quad170Alexandre GiroudDrag’on Rally Team4:28:54
Open700Mitch GuthrieRed Bull Off-Road Junior Team3:56:40
* – Not competing for W2RC points

Leaders after Stage #3

T1201Sébastien LoebBahrain Raid Xtreme7:22:58
T2214José Gameiro*Mracing Portugal12:40:33
T3307Guillaume de MeviusRed Bull Off-Road Junior Team7:43:35
T4405Gerard Farrés Guell*South Racing Can-Am8:03:02
RallyGP42Adrien van BeverenMonster Energy Honda Rally Team8:33:55
Rally2101Mason KleinBAS World KTM Racing Team8:57:35
Rally3151Jeremy MiroirDB Motors9:16:14
Quad170Alexandre GiroudDrag’on Rally Team10:24:20
Open700Stéphane PeterhanselX-Raid Yamaha Racing Rally Team7:58:30
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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