2024 Dakar Rally: Carlos Sainz consistent en route to 4th Dakar

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Credit: Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

Before the start of the 2024 Dakar Rally, twice reigning champion Nasser Al-Attiyah proclaimed he would “give them just three days” before Team Audi Sport retired from the race, citing their mechanical failures and other setbacks that plagued them throughout 2023. Ironically, it was Al-Attiyah who watched from the distance as Audi drove off to victory led by Carlos Sainz, who scored his fourth career Dakar.

Al-Attiyah entered the Dakar looking to be the third driver to score three consecutive Dakar wins, joining Ari Vatanen (1989 to 1991) and Pierre Lartigue (1994 to 1996). However, despite already having a Baja win for Prodrive, his Hunter struggled with mechanical issues and his lone stage win came after team-mate Sébastien Loeb opted to sandbag for a better starting position in the following day’s Chrono Stage. Over the next few days, Al-Attiyah’s race unravelled with more vehicle trouble such as a steering failure and his engine blowing up. He retired from the Dakar for the first time since 2017, his first year at Toyota.

Loeb was the closest competition to Sainz as he won a race-high five stages, but blinked in their staring contest when his suspension broke on the penultimate day. This dropped him to over an hour and a half behind Sainz as the Toyota of Guillaume de Mévius moved up to second, though the latter was also too far back to catch Sainz.

After Sainz’s Audi colleagues Mattias Ekström and Stéphane Peterhansel both experienced mechanical problems that prevented them from contending for the win, they elected to accompany their team-mate over the final stages to provide assistance should something arise. This came in handy during Stage #10 when Sainz suffered a streak of tyre punctures only for his partners to show up and save the day.

While he didn’t win a stage, Sainz scored his fourth Dakar after previous triumphs in 2010, 2018, and 2020; he also won the 2008 Central Europe Rally that replaced that year’s Dakar. Audi’s swan song campaign also begins on a strong note as they notched the first Dakar overall victory for an electric vehicle and their second World Rally-Raid Championship win (after Peterhansel at the 2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge) as they plan to close their rally raid programme after 2024 to focus on Formula One. Sainz’s post-Audi future is not certain either, especially as he stated last April that his final major career goal was to win a fourth Dakar for as many manufacturers—having previously claimed the 2010 race for Volkswagen, 2018 for Peugeot, and 2020 for Mini—though there have been reports that he would join Ford for 2025.

“This victory means a lot to me. It’s my fourth victory with the fourth different brand,” said Sainz. “The team has developed a very special concept with which we are the first in the Dakar Rally. Only Audi was brave enough to take this risk. I’m happy that we’ve made history with it, and in one of the toughest editions of this rally that I have experienced. My family is here, as is the whole Audi family.”

De Mévius and team-mate Guerlain Chicherit carried the defending manufacturer’s champion Toyota as they respectively finished second and fourth. Due to Loeb not competing for points, Chicherit moves up to third on the W2RC podium. Fellow Hilux Giniel de Villiers was seventh to break a tie with Yoshimasa Sugawara for the longest finishing streak at twenty-one; incidentally, Sugawara was concurrently competing in the ‘real’ rally to Dakar at the Africa Eco Race, where he also reached the finish.

Yazeed Al-Rajhi, the 2023 championship runner-up, looked like the top Toyota driver following Al-Attiyah’s departure as he led the overall for three stages but retired after rolling on the first day of the Chrono Stage.

Although he and his fellow 4×2 entries in the T1.2 subcategory are often outclassed by T1+, Mathieu Serradori impressed with a third in Stage #9 en route to a top-ten overall finish. He ran as high as fifth before a suspension failure in Stage #11 dropped him to tenth. His run topped a tumultuous rally for the twelve cars built by Century Racing, with a particular lowlight being their new CR7-T piloted by Brian Baragwanath and Urvo Männama having to sit out two days due to a critical suspension issue that required parts to be shipped in from South Africa; Männama’s race then came to an end when his car caught fire overnight prior to Stage #8.

Other teams also underwent trials by fire for their new vehicles or drivers. Wei Han and Red-Lined Motorsport co-developed a new T1+ car that dropped out on the Chrono Stage; Red-Lined’s REVO T1+ finished twenty-fifth with Aliyyah Koloc, having a slight setback with a front axle manufacturing defect in Stage #2 but otherwise stayed out of trouble. A privateer-friendly version of the Hilux T1+ built by WCT Engineering and piloted by Hennie de Klerk bowed out due to multiple driveshaft failures. At Mini, reigning FIA European Baja Cup champion Krzysztof Hołowczyc‘s first Dakar since 2015 was ruined by a pair of crashes while team newcomer Pau Navarro broke his wrist in a rollover. M-Sport Ford’s Dakar début saw Nani Roma and Gareth Woolridge both retire on the eighth day, though both managed to reach the finish.

Ultimate overall results

1204Carlos SainzLucas CruzTeam Audi SportT1.U48:15:18Leader
2221Guillaume de MéviusXavier PanseriOverdrive RacingT1+49:35:34+ 1:20:25
3203Sébastien Loeb*Fabian LurquinBahrain Raid XtremeT1+49:44:30+ 1:29:12
4211Guerlain ChicheritAlex WinocqOverdrive RacingT1+49:51:17+ 1:35:59
5208Martin ProkopViktor ChytkaORLEN Jipocar TeamT1+50:32:01+ 2:16:43
6243Guy Botterill*Brett CummingsToyota Gazoo RacingT1+50:55:51+ 2:40:33
7209Giniel de Villiers*Dennis MurphyToyota Gazoo RacingT1+51:05:44+ 2:50:26
8223Benediktas Vanagas*Kuldar SikkToyota Gazoo Racing BalticsT1+51:12:35+ 2:57:17
9206Lucas MoraesArmand MonleónToyota Gazoo RacingT1+51:18:30+ 3:04:12
10212Mathieu SerradoriLoïc MinaudierSerradori Racing TeamT1.251:19:30+ 3:04:12
11215Denis KrotovKonstantin ZhiltsovOverdrive RacingT1+51:54:31+ 3:39:13
12220Christian Lavieille*Valentin SarreaudMD Rallye SportT1.252:36:09+ 4:20:51
13245Cristian BaumgartAlberto AndreottiX Rally TeamT1+52:37:17+ 4:21:59
14231Romain Dumas*Max DelfinoRebellion RacingT1+52:48:29+ 4:33:11
15238Laia Sanz*Maurizio GeriniAstara TeamT1.253:09:04+ 4:53:46
16226Saood VariawaFrançois CazaletToyota Gazoo RacingT1+54:09:59+ 5:54:41
17228Jérôme Pélichet*Pascal LarroqueRaidLynxT1.254:51:14+ 6:35:56
18205Juan Cruz YacopiniDaniel OliveirasOverdrive RacingT1+57:41:00+ 9:25:42
19236Ronan Chabot*Gilles PillotOverdrive RacingT1+58:38:40+ 10:23:22
20229Lionel BaudLucie BaudOverdrive RacingT1+59:17:26+ 11:02:08
21257François Cousin*Stéphane CousinCompagnie des DunesT1.259:59:41+ 11:44:23
22237Tim Coronel*Tom CoronelCoronel Dakar TeamT1.261:35:43+ 13:20:25
23273Karel Trneny*Michal ErnstWorkoutland ACCR Czech TeamT1+62:14:51+ 13:59:33
24260Andrea Schiumarini*Andrea SucciTH-Trucks TeamT1.262:18:20+ 14:03:02
25239Aliyyah KolocSébastien DelaunayBuggyra ZM RacingT1+62:24:51+ 14:09:33
26207Mattias EkströmEmil BergkvistTeam Audi SportT1.U63:34:57+ 15:19:39
27261Benoit Fretin*Cédric DupleYDEO CompetitionT1.263:48:20+ 15:33:02
28259Gintas Petrus*Jose MarquesPetrus RacingT1.264:29:22+ 16:14:04
29264Maik Willems*Robert Van PeltBastion Hotels Dakar TeamT1+64:58:30+ 16:43:12
30202Stéphane PeterhanselÉdouard BoulangerTeam Audi SportT1.U65:40:30+ 17:25:12
31227Eugenio AmosPaolo CeciOverdrive RacingT1+65:56:36+ 17:41:18
32251Alexandre Pesci*Stephan KuhniRebellion RacingT1+68:03:59+ 19:48:41
33272Jean-Philippe Beziat*Vincent AlbiraMD Rallye SportT1.268:1501+ 19:59:43
34268Stefan Carmans*Antonius van TielCSA RacingT1+69:42:47+ 21:27:29
35266Cedric Goumaz*Pascal DelacourMD Rallye SportT1.273:24:32+ 25:09:14
36235Isidre Esteve*José Maria Villalobos ValcarcelRepsol Toyota Rally TeamT1+78:23:07+ 30:07:49
37254Zi Yungang*Hong Yu PanYunXiang RacingT1+96:52:01+ 48:36:43
38219Brian Baragwanath*Leonard CremerCentury RacingT1+104:40:28+ 56:25:10
39248Tomáš Ouředníček*David KřípalToyota Gazoo Racing CzechT1+111:32:29+ 63:17:11
40234Jean-Rémy Bergounhe*Lionel CostesMD Rallye SportT1.2111:37:14+ 63:21:56
41241Jean-Luc CeccaldiThomas GaidellaJLC RacingT1.2112:16:56+ 64:01:38
42216Seth QuinteroDennis ZenzToyota Gazoo RacingT1+117:20:01+ 69:04:43
43256Xiangyan Sun*Yu TianHanWei MotorsportT1.2122:57:54+ 74:42:36
44210Nani Roma*Alex Haro BravoFord M-SportT1+130:32:18+ 82:17:00
45274Magdalena Zajac*Jacek CzachorProxcars TME Rally TeamT1.1133:14:17+ 84:58:59
46225Gareth Woolridge*Boyd DreyerFord M-SportT1+135:12:23+ 87:08:55
47217Krzysztof HołowczycŁukasz KurzejaX-raid Mini JCW TeamT1+137:12:03+ 88:56:45
48232Pascal Thomasse*Arnold BrucyMD Rallye SportT1.2141:43:17+ 93:27:59
49240Vladas Jurkevičius*Aisvydas PaliukėnasAtlantis RacingT1+143:04:41+ 94:49:23
50267Jérôme Cambier*Philippe GosselinMD Rallye SportT1.2152:12:46+ 103:57:28
51255Dominique Housieaux*Delphine DelfinoSerradori Racing TeamT1.2155:24:14+ 107:08:56
52214Vaidotas Žala*Paulo FiuzaX-raid Arijus TeamT1+158:23:03+ 110:07:45
DNF200Nasser Al-AttiyahMathieu BaumelNasser RacingT1+DNFN/A
DNF201Yazeed Al-RajhiTimo GottschalkOverdrive RacingT1+DNFN/A
DNF218Wei Han*Li MaHanWei MotorsportT1+DNFN/A
DNF222Simon Vitse*Frédéric LefebvreMD Rallye SportT1.2DNFN/A
DNF230Pau NavarroGonçalo ReisX-raid Mini JCW TeamT1+DNFN/A
DNF242Marcos BaumgartKleber CinceaX Rally TeamT1+DNFN/A
DNF244Jean-Pierre Strugo*Christophe CrespoMD Rallye SportT1.2DNFN/A
DNF246Frédéric Chesneau*Lionel RomaninSkybox Rally-RaidT1.2DNFN/A
DNF247Michel Kremer*Thomas de BoisCoronel Dakar TeamT1.2DNFN/A
DNF249Feilong Liu*Wang YichengYunXiang RacingT1+DNFN/A
DNF250Urvo Männama*Risto LepikRally Raid EstoniaT1DNFN/A
DNF252Ping Sun*Min LiaoYunXiang RacingT1+DNFN/A
DNF253Philippe Boutron*Franck MaldonadoSodicars RacingT1.2DNFN/A
DNF258Hennie de Klerk*Juan MöhrTreasuryONE MotorsportT1+DNFN/A
DNF262Patricia Pita Gago*Paolo BoggioniAstara TeamT1.2DNFN/A
DNF269Antoine Delaporte*Yoann FrançoisOff Road ConceptT1.2DNFN/A
DNF270Patrice Étienne*Antoine SanchezYDEO CompetitionT1.2DNFN/A
DNF271Silvio Totani*Tito TotaniMotortechnica Racing TeamT1.1DNFN/A
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

Ultimate stage winners

PrologueMattias Ekström16:30.9
Stage #1Guillaume de Mévius4:35:59
Stage #2Stéphane Peterhansel3:54:40
Stage #3Lucas Moraes4:14:51
Stage #4Sébastien Loeb*2:36:02
Stage #5Nasser Al-Attiyah1:37:25
Stage #6Sébastien Loeb*7:21:56
Stage #7Sébastien Loeb*4:56:39
Stage #8Mattias Ekström3:17:15
Stage #9Sébastien Loeb*4:17:33
Stage #10Guerlain Chicherit3:19:27
Stage #11Guerlain Chicherit4:43:00
Stage #12Sébastien Loeb*1:39:41

W2RC standings

Unlike Challenger and SSV, Ultimate does not have its own class-specific trophy and instead has a single championship where drivers from all three points-paying categories are eligible.

For readability, competitors registered for the championship who have yet to earn points are not listed.

Drivers’ standings

1Carlos Sainz76Leader
2Guillaume de Mévius58– 18
3Guerlain Chicherit56– 20
4Lucas Moraes40– 36
5Mathieu Serradori32– 44
6Martin Prokop27– 49
T-7Nasser Al-Attiyah18– 58
T-7Denis Krotov18– 58
9Cristian Baumgart16– 60
10Mattias Ekström15– 61
T-11Yazeed Al-Rajhi14– 62
T-11Saood Variawa14– 62
13Stéphane Peterhansel13– 63
T-14Mitch Guthrie11– 65
T-14Juan Cruz Yacopini11– 65
16Rokas Baciuška9– 67
17Austin Jones7– 69
T-18Yasir Seaidan5– 71
T-18Seth Quintero5– 71
T-20Sara Price4– 72
T-20Eugenio Amos4– 72
22Krzysztof Hołowczyc3– 73
Italics – Challenger
Underscore – SSV

Co-drivers’ standings

1Lucas Cruz76Leader
2Xavier Panseri58– 18
3Alex Winocq56– 20
4Armand Monleón40– 36
5Loïc Minaudier32– 44
6Viktor Chytka27– 49
T-7Mathieu Baumel18– 58
T-7Konstantin Zhiltsov18– 58
9Alberto Andreotti16– 60
10Emil Bergkvist15– 61
T-11Timo Gottschalk14– 62
T-11François Cazalet14– 62
13Édouard Boulanger13– 63
T-14Daniel Oliveiras11– 65
T-14Kellon Walch11– 65
16Oriol Vidal9– 67
17Gustavo Gugelmin7– 69
T-18Dennis Zenz5– 71
T-18Adrien Metge5– 71
T-20Paolo Ceci4– 72
T-20Jeremy Gray4– 72
22Łukasz Kurzeja3– 73

Manufacturers’ standings

2Toyota63– 13
3Prodrive30– 46
4Mini20– 56
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