2024 Dakar Classic: Carlos Santaolalla breaks through in Classic domination

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Credit: Florent Gooden/DPPI

Carlos Sainz was not the only Spaniard named Carlos to win at the 2024 Dakar Rally.

After missing out on the 2023 Dakar Classic when Juan Morera beat him by 101 points, Carlos Santaolalla was the top performer in the 2024 edition as he won seven of twelve stages. However, he still had to fend off Lorenzo Traglio, who claimed three stages, and ultimately pulled it off by just twelve points.

Santaolalla arrived in Saudi Arabia on a rather last minute schedule after his 2023 navigator Aran Sol I Juanola opted to run the main Dakar Rally in a Challenger car with Antonio Garcia Coma. Jan Rosa Viñas took over as Santaolalla’s partner in their Toyota Land Cruiser HDJ80, which had been sitting in a garage since March after repairing a fuel pump that ruined his hopes of winning the previous year.

The son of former Dakar mechanic Maurizio Traglio, Traglio’s Nissan Pathfinder set the tone early by winning the opening stage but finished sixth the following day to boost Santaolalla to the top spot. Santaolalla held the throne for most of the race, only briefly losing it twice when he finished runner-up to Ondřej Klymčiw in Stage #5 followed by a dismal Stage #8 where he finished eighteenth. Traglio capitalised on the latter to take the lead only to surrender it again the next day.

Morera switched from his Land Cruiser to a Porsche 959 designed to resemble the late René Metge‘s Porsche that won the 1986 Paris–Dakar Rally. He won the Prologue and Stage #2 but his car took a beating in the dunes, bottoming out when he finished thirty-third in Stage #3. His team-mate Frédéric Larre did not have much luck either, having to retire from Stage #1 after the rear trailing arm.

Porsche problems also extended to the Porsche 924s of P-Rally Team. Stage #3 was particularly disastrous as Tomasz Staniszewski‘s engine mount broke while Łukasz Zoll retired with a slate of electrical failures. Staniszewski skipped Stage #6 due to rear suspension damage the previous day; Janus van Kasteren Sr.‘s DAF Bull towed him to the finish.

Altough Klymčiw led the overall after Stage #8, a string of poor finishes dropped him out of the top twenty.

Croatian rally star Juraj Šebalj scored a top ten in his maiden Dakar Classic. Also from the rally world, former WRC navigator Jorge Pérez Companc, who previously raced the Dakar Rally as co-driver for his brother Luis, suffered a mechanical issue halfway through that spoiled a top-fifteen effort.

Rafael Lesmes was the highest finishing truck in ninth, racing a pink Mercedes-Benz 1844 after previously contesting the Dakar Rally in a Challenger car. On the other hand, the hydrogen-powered MAN truck of Alexandre Lemeray rolled over in Stage #4 and had to be flipped back by another truck piltoed by Jaime Martinez Canteli.

It is perhaps to be expected that the Saudi desert, which was already brutal enough for the main Dakar Rally, also took their toll on Classic vehicles, all of which were built prior to 1999 even if they were former Dakar challengers themselves. Michel Blanc‘s Renault 4L, reconstructed from a police car to resemble Claude and Bernard Marreau’s Renault Sinpar that finished third in 1980, lost its right rear wheel during the Chrono Stage which left Blanc and co-driver Frédéric Benedetti stranded in the desert before they got it repaired; the car then ended up on a flatbed three stages later. Nevertheless, he managed to reach the finish, an achievement that seven others were unable to mirror.

Unlike the Dakar Rally, the Dakar Classic is a regularity-based race that uses points instead of times.

Dakar Classic overall results

FinishNumberDriverCo-DriverTeamGroupTotal PointsMargin
1768Carlos SantaolallaJan Rosa ViñasFactory TubH2.B820 pointsLeader
2702Lorenzo TraglioRudy BrianiTecnosportH3.C832 points+ 12 points
3701Paolo BedeschiDaniele BottalloTecnosportH3.B1,061 points+ 241 points
4703Dirk van RompuyLuis Barbero GarciaVR Racing by TH-Trucks TeamH2.B1,646 points+ 826 points
5764Maxence GublinAnthony SousaBolides RacingH2.B1,877 points+ 1,057 points
6700Juan MoreraLidia RubaMomabikes Raid TeamH2.B1,909 points+ 1,089 points
7761Marco Ernesto LevaAlexia GiugniR TeamH2.B2,464 points+ 1,644 points
8767Amadeo Roige BragulatJorge ToralPedrega TeamH2.B3,134 points+ 2,314 points
9911Rafael LesmesJose Luis Ruano Garcia, Tabatha RomonDakar Por La VidaH1T.B3,455 points+ 2,635 points
10728Juraj ŠebaljIvan VidakovićTecnosportH2.B3,670 points+ 2,850 points
11755Jörg SandPatrick DiemerVölkel Dakar TeamH2.A3,810 points+ 2,990 points
12750Mathieu KurzenAlexandre FatioGeco Classic Racing TeamH1.B4,074 points+ 3,254 points
13743Thierry ValtatGuillaume GeléeLa Compagnie SaharienneH1.B4,778 points+ 3,958 points
14719Filippo ColnaghiStefano Davide FabianoTecnosportH2.B5,681 points+ 4,861 points
15704Pascal LebrunSébastien DuboisTeam Cap179H2.B5,811 points+ 4,991 points
16906Corrado PattonoPiermarco Acerni, Gianluca IanniMototecnica Racing TeamH2T.C5,819 points+ 4,999 points
17705Francisco BenaventeRafael Benavente Del RioRecinsa SportH2.B6,172 points+ 5,352 points
18759Frédéric LarreJérémy AthimonNantes Prestige AutosH2.B6,190 points+ 5,370 points
19913Jaime Martinez CanteliNekane Abin Bardeci, Santiago Díaz de CerioTH-Trucks TeamH1T.B6,927 points+ 6,107 points
20730François AbrialCecile AbrialTeam SSPH2.B7,371 points+ 6,551 points
21745Dominique DurandRaphael VialTeam SSPH2.B7,442 points+ 6,622 points
22723François-Xavier BourgoisPatrice AuzetTeam Boucou AssistanceH3.A7,552 points+ 6,732 points
23736Michał HorodeńskiArkadiusz SałacińskiToyota Team ClassicH3.B6,553 points+ 6,733 points
24714Ondřej KlymčiwJosef BrozKlymčiw RacingH2.B7,609 points+ 6,789 points
25902Frank PuchouauEnric Segura, Dorian BardeauTeam Boucou CompetitionH2T.C8,113 points+ 7,293 points
26747Teddy DelmonicoFlorian GarnierTFSL RacingH4.C8,408 points+ 7,588 points
27766Michaël DenisPhilippe GarabeufLa Compagnie SaharienneH1.B8,413 points+ 7,593 points
28727Giulio BertolliRenato RicklerR TeamH2.B9,418 points+ 8,598 points
29744Andrew GrahamGavin NeateAllisportH2.A9,842 points+ 9,022 points
30740Matías Rodríguez MartínSandra Guasch PlanellsBXS MotorsportH1.B10,295 points+ 9,475 points
31729Lionel GuyJohnny MauduitCapÔsuDH2.B11,598 points+ 10,778 points
32766Michaël DenisPhilippe GarabeufLa Compagnie SaharienneH1.B12,526 points+ 11,706 points
33915Alexandre LemerayFabien Lecaplain, Jean-Baptiste LecotTeam HoleShot CompétitionH1T.C12,864 points+ 12,044 points
34735Herve SolandtBrice Laborie-BrondinoRSOH2.B13,025 points+ 12,205 points
35738Jaap BolkTwan VollebregtBolk Dakar Rally TeamH4.C14,567 points+ 13,747 points
36722Andrea BelomettiLuigi DerossiDesert Endurance MotorsportH3.C14,796 points+ 13,975 points
37760Olivier DelrieuChristophe ChabeufLa Compagnie SaharienneH1.B15,203 points+ 14,383 points
38710Stefano CalziUmberto FioriMotortecnica Racing TeamH4.B15,652 points+ 14,832 points
39757Daniel VetterAnton FrutigerDesert CruiserH3.C16,951 points+ 16,131 points
40734Stefano SinibaldiSimona MorosiR TeamH3.C18,895 points+ 18,075 points
41724Paulo Sergio da Silva OliveiraArcelio CoutoTH-Trucks TeamH2.B20,119 points+19,299 points
42718Luciano CarcheriFabrizia PonsTecnosportH1.B20,271 points+ 19,451 points
43737Tomasz StaniszewskiStanisław PostawkaP-Rally TeamH2.A20,378 points+ 19,558 points
44739Daniel Albero PuigJose Luis Serra RocaTeam Un Diabético en el DakarH3.C20,733 points+ 19,913 points
45741Damiano LipaniStefano CrementieriR TeamH3.C21,356 points+ 20,536 points
46754Sergi Fernández GarcíaPablo BenaventePedrega TeamH3.C21,986 points+ 21,166 points
47717Maximilian LoderLaurence LoderVölkel Dakar TeamH2.A22,275 points+ 21,455 points
48742Katherine LovemoreStephen LovemoreDreamy & The Pap SnoekH1.B22,932 points+ 22,112 points
49751Stéphane DocherLionel BalandreaudTFSL RacingH3.B24,497 points+ 23,677 points
50708Puck KlaassenSebastiaan KlaassenNantes Prestige AutosH2.A25,161 points+ 24,341 points
51908Christian RuppertUrsula Ruppert, Matias RuppertRuppert MotorsportH1T.B25,621 points+ 24,801 points
52746Ugo BullesiMyriam ManzoniBefuel Bombelli TeamH3.B25,635 points+ 24,815 points
53753Adriaan BotmaRiaan BotmaMidstream OilH3.B25,641 points+ 24,821 points
54709Łukasz ZollMichal ZollDEXT P-Rally TeamH2.A28,201 points+ 27,381 points
55733Panos MeyerMartin Bendig-KreutzerVölkel Dakar TeamH2.A30,558 points+ 29,738 points
56762Jan VinsTomáš HovorkaEnjoy MotorsportH2.B31,212 points+ 30,392 points
57903Janus van Kasteren Sr.Toine Verkooijen, Herman KeijsersClassic Team de RooyH2T.B31,584 points+ 30,764 points
58910Giuseppe SimonatoAlessio Bentivoglio, Monica BuonamanoTecnosportH2T.B31,624 points+ 30,804 points
59711Asier Duarte RodríguezRaquel ArranzTH-Trucks TeamH2.B31,662 points+ 30,842 points
60904Ermanno De AngelisAnnunziata Del Gaudio, Andreas CadeiDesert Endurance MotorsportH2T.B31,986 points+ 31,166 points
61715Joao Antonio de Almeida e Sousa CostaLuís Miguel GonçalvesTH-Trucks TeamH2.B35,400 points+ 34,580 points
62901Pierre-Louis QueminOlivier Guillory, Antoine MargallTeam SSPH2T.B35,698 points+ 34,878 points
63712Barbora HolickáLucie EngováCzech SamuraisH1.A36,428 points+ 35,608 points
64900Marco GiannecchiniLuca Macrini, Alexandre Manuel Azenha de FreitasR TeamH1T.B38,105 points+ 37,285 points
65720Michel BlancFrédéric Benedetti4lpine RetroH1.A42,691 points+ 41,871 points
66756Stefano PicassoGianluca BiondiDesert Endurance MotorsportH1.B44,599 points+ 43,779 points
67905Ignacio CorcueraDavid Naveira, Fernando Garcia SagastaEuskadi 4×4H1T.A46,761 points+ 45,941 points
68912Daniel SchatzGoerg Gattinger, Fabian StaunerVölkel Dakar TeamH1T.A50,547 points+ 49,727 points
69716Dominik BenKatarzyna MalickaCoco LocoH3.C54,401 points+ 53,581 points
70907Thomas WolthausBastian Klausing, Lina van de MarsVölkel Dakar TeamH1T.A55,520 points+ 54,700 points
71758Frank Uwe Juergen ThielHartmut WeigeltMontana RacingH2.B56,600 points+ 55,780 points
DNF721Vincent GonzalezAlbert Casabona VilasecaTH-Trucks TeamH3.CDNFN/A
DNF725Pieter PeerlingsSam Teugels924 Turbo TeamH3.ADNFN/A
DNF731Marcel QuirosJoan Cairó i FerrerBXS MotorsportH1.BDNFN/A
DNF748Giuliano BergoRobert BlaasR TeamH3.CDNFN/A
DNF749Jorge Pérez CompancJose Maria VoltaMadpanda MotorsportH3.BDNFN/A
DNF752Georges GarciaFrançois BeziacChancellor Team New ZealandH2.BDNFN/A
DNF763Giorgio CiresolaZiga ColjaDesert Endurance MotorsportH3.CDNFN/A

Dakar Classic stage winners

PrologueJuan Morera3 points
Stage #1Lorenzo Traglio38 points
Stage #2Juan Morera15 points
Stage #3Carlos Santaolalla49 points
Stage #4Carlos Santaolalla24 points
Stage #5Ondřej Klymčiw21 points
Stage #6Carlos Santaolalla92 points
Stage #7Carlos Santaolalla32 points
Stage #8Lorenzo Traglio67 points
Stage #9Carlos Santaolalla43 points
Stage #10Carlos Santaolalla31 points
Stage #11Lorenzo Traglio9 points
Stage #12Carlos Santaolalla15 points
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