Dakar

2024 Dakar Rally: Harith Noah becomes first Indian Dakar champion in Rally2

5 Mins read
Credit: Florent Gooden/DPPI

Romain Dumontier had all the momentum entering the 2024 Dakar Rally as the defending Rally2 winner and World Rally-Raid Champion. Harith Noah had other plans.

Dumontier’s quest for a repeat began on a strong note when he won the Prologue before taking the overall lead in Stage #2 and held it until a poor Chrono Stage in which he ran out of fuel on the first day and finished twelfth dropped him down to second. However, Jean-Loup Lepan received a penalty the following day for missing a waypoint that allowed Dumontier to inherit the lead.

When the rally entered its final three days, Dumontier’s advantage only continued to grow into the double digits. Noah, the Stage #8 winner, was third and trailed Dumontier by over eleven minutes after the ninth.

As it turned out, Noah had Dumontier right where he wanted him. A dominant Stage #10 win propelled him past Lepan for second while Dumontier missed the stage podium after breaking a swingarm axle bolt just thirty kilometres from the finish, slicing the gap between each other to 4:31. Noah then finished runner-up to Bradley Cox in Stage #11 while Dumontier struggled to a fifth after a difficult day in which he punctured both tyres at the start of the stage then crashed into rocks in the closing sixty kilometres, forcing him to ride with a broken rib and no brakes. Dumontier finished fifth, losing the lead to Noah.

Entering the final day, Dumontier needed to make up six minutes to beat Noah. Although he finished ahead of Noah with a runner-up effort to Noah’s fifth, Noah—whose Stage #12 time was interestingly identical to Cox’s—was only fifty-six seconds slower than Dumontier and secured the victory. His time was eleventh best among all bikes regardless of category, 5:47 behind the RallyGP bike of Martin Michek.

Noah is the first Indian to win a Dakar Rally overall, while he scored the maiden triumph for Sherco. Although obviously a moment to cherish forever, he admitted he did not expect it to be so successful.

“I had no expectations when I arrived. I wanted to just ride my bike without really looking at the results,” Noah explained. “I started to be very surprised by my position during Stage #10, when I did the fifth best time of the special. I don’t really know what happened during that week, I felt good and the bike ran perfectly. I hope that my victory will convince many young people to join the rally. I didn’t imagine when I was a child that I would come to the Dakar, that I would first finish twentieth, and now eleventh.”

Despite settling for second, Dumontier exits the Dakar as the World Rally-Raid Championship points leader as Noah is not registered for the championship. Noah and tenth-placed Milan Engel are the only riders in the Rally2 top ten who are not racing for points.

“I tried not to give up despite the challenges I faced: a fuel breakdown that cost me almost one hour, minor injuries, and other small mechanical issues that cost me precious minutes here and there. But it’s the Dakar, anything can happen and we know it, and that’s why I never want to reveal my ambitions too much before the start of this race,” commented Dumontier.

Mário Patrão finished seventeenth and clinched the Veteran’s Trophy for riders over the age of forty-five. On the opposite extreme, Konrad Dąbrowski was twelfth to claim the Junior Trophy for those twenty-five and under; Dąbrowski made his Dakar return after missing the 2023 race due to appendicitis. Enduro World Enduro Champion Jane Daniels duelled Yael Kadshai for the Women’s Trophy and won by default as she reached the finish while Kadshai retired after nine stages.

Despite racing without assistance from teams, Tobias Ebster won Stage #5 en route to finishing eighth overall and topping the Original by Motul (also known as Malle Moto) subcategory. His effort earned him Rookie honours. Benjamin Melot and Javi Vega were also solo riders, but were not scored in Original by Motul as they were no longer eligible for the amateur-only division.

Rally2 overall results

FinishNumberRiderTeamTimeMargin
120Harith Noah*Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team54:24:44Leader
216Romain DumontierTeam Dumontier Racing54:29:41+ 4:57
318Bradley CoxBAS World KTM Racing Team54:31:12+ 6:28
476Jean-Loup LepanDUUST Rally Team54:43:07+ 18:23
524Toni MulecBAS World KTM Racing Team54:53:29+ 28:45
628Mathieu DovèzeBAS World KTM Racing Team54:56:36+ 31:45
741Diego LlanosXraids Experience57:58:46+ 3:34:02
896Tobias Ebster #†Kini Rally Racing Team58:17:00+ 3:52:16
973Charan MooreHT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing58:35:08+ 4:10:24
1043Milan Engel*Orion – Moto Racing Group58:56:58+ 4:32:14
1134Emanuel Gyenes* #Autonet Motorcycle Team59:02:11+ 4:37:27
1226Konrad DąbrowskiDUUST Rally Team59:30:02+ 5:05:18
1337Jérôme Martiny* #Anquety Motorsport60:22:22+ 5:57:38
1439Benjamin Melot* #Team Esprit KTM60:34:20+ 6:09:36
1533Jan BrabecStrojrent Racing61:00:08+ 6:35:24
16140Bruno Santos* †Xraids Experience61:12:16+ 6:47:32
1736Mário Patrão*Crédito Agrícola61:22:55+ 6:58:11
1886Charlie HerbstTeam All Tracks62:45:13+ 8:20:29
1962Jeremy Miroir* †Fantic Rally Team62:52:59+ 8:28:15
20103Ashley Thixton* †HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing63:21:19+ 8:56:35
21106Jérôme Bas* †Universal Ride63:57:58+ 9:33:14
2282Albert Martin* #Pedrega Team64:21:17+ 9:56:33
23115Josep Pedró Subirats* †ALL1 Dakar65:32:59+ 11:08:15
24105Julien Dalbec* †Nomade Racing65:40:32+ 11:15:48
25148Tomás de Gavardo*BAS World KTM Racing Team66:15:13+ 11:50:29
2699Juan Santiago Rostan* †Xraids Experience66:21:17+ 11:56:33
2753Thomas Kongshøj*Joyride Race Service67:16:55+ 12:52:11
2861David Pabiška* #SP Moto Bohemia67:21:38+ 12:56:54
29101Martin Prokeš*Orion – Moto Racing Group67:21:52+ 12:57:08
30147Mathieu Girard* †Nomade Racing67:53:45+ 13:29:01
3197Juan Puga* #JP1 Kews Dakar Rally Team68:13:21+ 13:48:37
32112Gioele Meoni* † #Dakar4Dakar68:52:40+ 14:27:56
33110Jane Daniels* †Fantic Rally Team69:45:02+ 15:20:18
3493David McBrideVendetta Racing UAE69:57:42+ 15:32:58
3581Fang Xiangling* †Kove Moto70:03:55+ 15:39:11
36104Jérémie Gerber* #†To Lucky Drive Racing70:12:19+ 15:47:35
3787Libor Podmol* #Podmol Dakar Team71:37:07+ 17:12:23
3875Zhang Min*Wu Pu Da Hai Dao Rally Team73:13:01+ 18:48:17
39102Bartłomiej Tabin* †Orion – Moto Racing Group73:18:11+ 18:53:27
40117Josep Martí Suñer* †ALL1 Dakar74:0124+ 19:36:40
41120Joris Van Dyck* †HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing74:28:50+ 20:04:06
4294Oran O’Kelly †Vendetta Racing UAE75:07:2820:42:44
4365Guillaume Chollet*Xraids Experience76:18:17+ 21:53:33
4466Yoshio Ikemachi*BAS World KTM Racing Team76:21:48+ 21:57:04
45127Ronald Venter* †Nomade Racing77:02:24+ 22:37:40
46100Stuart Gregory* #Stuart Gregory77:12:48+ 22:48:04
4732Kyle McCoy* #American Rally Originals78:09:34+ 23:44:50
4880Alexandre Azinhais*Club Aventura Touareg78:24:10+ 23:59:26
4983Fabien Domas*Nomade Racing78:32:34+ 24:07:50
5064Romain Duchêne* #†Team GP Motors78:35:57+ 24:11:13
51138Pierre Saeys* †HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing78:42:08+ 24:17:24
52132Andy Beaucoud* #†Team RAF78:44:25+ 24:19:41
53131Anthony Fabre* #†Team RAF78:49:55+ 24:25:11
5490Loïs d’Abbadie*Nomade Racing79:09:30+ 24:44:46
5584Tiziano Internó* #Rally POV79:28:17+ 25:03:33
56119Javier Amat de Caralt* †ALL1 Dakar81:03:17+ 26:38:33
57113Sebastián UrquíaXraids Experience81:19:36+ 26:54:52
58141Vincent Biau* #†VB × Kray&Co81:53:57+ 27:29:13
59136Weston Carr* †HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing82:02:46+ 27:38:02
60128Max Bianucci* †Nomade Racing82:08:43+ 27:43:59
61114Carlos Llibre* †ALL1 Dakar83:05:20+ 28:40:36
6238Eduardo Iglesias Sánchez*Team Benergy Monforte Rally83:40:29+ 29:15:45
63145Ganzorig Chuluun* †HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing84:11:19+ 29:46:35
6485Thierry Béthys* #TB Racing86:20:49+ 31:36:05
65107Vasileios Boudros* #DNA Filters – Enduro Greece91:44:37+ 37:19:53
6649Cesare Zacchetti* #Kove Italia91:58:40+ 37:33:56
67129Sébastien HerbetTeam Dumontier Racing92:15:27+ 37:50:43
6867John Medina Salazar*Xraids Experience93:35:20+ 39:10:36
6940Javi Vega* #Pont Grup Yamaha99:06:13+ 44:41:29
70126Mario Garrido* †Pedrega Team99:34:34+ 45:09:50
71122Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera* #†Haleem102:39:52+ 48:15:08
7251Rachid Al-Lal LahadilMelilla Ciudad del Deporte103:16:18+ 48:51:34
73143Hector Guerrero* †Pedrega Team104:10:20+ 49:45:36
7421Jacob Argubright*DUUST Rally Team106:55:18+ 52:30:34
7579Amaury Baratin* #Horizon Moto 95110:30:53+ 56:06:09
76146Gad Nachmani* †Club Aventura Touareg116:11:38+ 61:45:54
7770Dušan Drdaj* †Orion – Moto Racing Group119:42:17+ 65:17:33
7857Tommaso Montanari*Fantic Rally Team122:38:19+ 68:13:35
79121James Simonin* †Nomade Racing123:59:27+ 69:34:43
8045Sunier*Kove Moto135:41:54+ 81:17:10
81144Fabián von Thuengen* †HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing175:49:34+ 121:24:50
8229Neels Theric*Kove Moto177:29:19+ 123:04:35
83109Mohamed Aoulad Ali*Club Aventura Touareg194:20:43+ 139:55:59
84130Javier CamposJoyrace196:25:45+ 142:01:01
DNF17Paolo LucciBAS World KTM Racing TeamDNFN/A
DNF22Michael DochertyBAS World KTM Racing TeamDNFN/A
DNF56Simon Marčič* #JP1 Kews Dakar Rally TeamDNFN/A
DNF59Francisco ArredondoBAS World KTM Racing TeamDNFN/A
DNF60Xavier Flick*Kove MotoDNFN/A
DNF63Jaromír Romančík* †Orion – Moto Racing GroupDNFN/A
DNF69Cesar Rojo*BAS World KTM Racing TeamDNFN/A
DNF71Francesco Catanese*TuttogruDNFN/A
DNF72Philippe Gendron*Nomade RacingDNFN/A
DNF74Michael Jacobi* #Comas Moto / Môle Agri ForestDNFN/A
DNF78Zhao Hongyi*Wu Pu Da Hai Dao Rally TeamDNFN/A
DNF89Ardit Kurtaj* †HT Rally Raid Husqvarna RacingDNFN/A
DNF92David MabbsVendetta Racing UAEDNFN/A
DNF95Dominique Cizeau Girault* †Xraids ExperienceDNFN/A
DNF108Ashish Raorane*Xraids ExperienceDNFN/A
DNF111Yael Kadshai* †Nomade RacingDNFN/A
DNF116Xavier Pes Bosck* †ALL1 DakarDNFN/A
DNF118Fernando Conde Targa* †ALL1 DakarDNFN/A
DNF123Fabio Lottero* †Touareg Ibiza – Evissa EsportsDNFN/A
DNF124Kerim Fitz-Gerald †BAS World KTM Racing TeamDNFN/A
DNF125Iader Giraldi* #ZerantaDNFN/A
DNF133Bruno Leblanc* #†Un Dakar Pour De L’espoirDNFN/A
DNF134Isaac Feliu* #TwinTrail Racing TeamDNFN/A
DNF135Carles Falcón* #TwinTrail Racing TeamDNFN/A
DNF137Gwen Backx* †HT Rally Raid Husqvarna RacingDNFN/A
DNF139Modestas Siliūnas* †AG Dakar SchoolDNFN/A
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship
Bold – Junior Trophy
Italics – Veteran Trophy
Underscore – Women’s Trophy
† – Rookie
# – Original by Motul (Malle Moto)

Rally2 stage winners

StageRiderTime
PrologueRomain Dumontier19:43
Stage #1Bradley Cox5:08:55
Stage #2Jean-Loup Lepan4:40:41
Stage #3Romain Dumontier4:47:04
Stage #4Romain Dumontier3:03:05
Stage #5Tobias Ebster1:37:26
Stage #6Jean-Loup Lepan8:23:53
Stage #7Mathieu Dovèze5:36:15
Stage #8Harith Noah3:42:12
Stage #9Bradley Cox4:49:40
Stage #10Harith Noah3:53:34
Stage #11Bradley Cox5:00:02
Stage #12Diego Llanos1:51:54

W2RC Rally2 standings

RankRiderPointsMargin
1Romain Dumontier38Leader
2Bradley Cox30– 8
3Jean-Loup Lepan24– 14
4Toni Mulec20– 18
5Mathieu Dovèze17– 21
6Diego Llanos15– 23
7Tobias Ebster14– 24
8Charan Moore12– 26
9Konrad Dąbrowski11– 27
10Jan Brabec9– 29
11Charlie Herbst8– 30
12David McBride6– 32
13Oran O’Kelly5– 33
14Sebastián Urquía3– 35
T-15Sébastien Herbet2– 36
T-15Rachid Al-Lal Lahadil2– 36
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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