Manuel Andújar Wins This Year’s Dakar Rally in the Quads Class

Manuel Andújar has returned to the top of the podium…

The 27-year-old Argentine four-wheeled motorcycle racer won the 2024 Dakar Rally in the quads class on Friday.

Manuel AndújarThe Yamaha driver finished the last stage in second place, but it was enough to maintain his advantage over French driver Alexandre Giroud.

It’s his second Dakar crown, after winning the title in 2021.

Andújar completed the 7,891 kilometers of the race in an aggregate time of 64 hours, 16 minutes, and 53 seconds, almost eight minutes ahead of Giroud, winner in 2022 and 2023.

The French driver won six of the 12 stages but was unable to match Andújar’s overall pace, who never dropped below third each day. Slovakian Juraj Varga completed the podium, also aboard a Yamaha, albeit over four hours from the lead.

“After two years watching it from home, with accidents and engine failures, I’m thrilled to be back at the top,” said Andújar after the win. “They say the quads class is going away, but this year it was the most competitive. I dedicate this Dakar to Lobos again.”

Argentina is the leading country in Dakar’s quad class. In addition to Andújar’s two titles, Marcos Patronelli (2010, 2013, and 2016), Alejandro Patronelli (2011 and 2012) and Nicolás Cavigliasso (2019) have won the title eight times in total.

In the bikes class, Argentine Kevin Benavides (KTM) finished fourth after winning the last stage to finish 38 minutes behind the winner, American Ricky Brabec (Honda), with Botswana’s Ross Branch (Hero) and France’s Adrien van Bereven (Honda) completing the podium. His brother, Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna), finished seventh.

In the cars class, Spanish rally legend Carlos Sainz (Audi) won his fourth title at the age of 61. The Spaniard, who also won the World Rally Championship in 1990 and 1992, had previously won the Dakar in 2010, 2018 and 2020. Belgium’s Guillaume de Mevius (Toyota) and France’s Sebastian Loeb (Prodrive) completed the podium. Argentine Juan Cruz Yacopini finished 28th aboard a Toyota.

Cristina Gutierrez Makes Spanish History with Challenger Class Dakar Rally Title

Cristina Gutierrez is racing into the history books…

The 32-year-old Spanish rally racer has become the first-ever Spanish woman to win a category at the Dakar Rally, one of the most famous, and dangerous, off-road races in the world.

Cristina GutierrezGutierrez is only the second female to ever be successful in rally driving’s premier competition, following Germany’s Jutta Kleinschmidt, who won in 2001.

Gutierrez, who is also a qualified dentist, was successful in the Challenger category for the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team.

The Burgos-born driver won on the final day after her main rival Mitchell Guthrie suffered engine issues that allowed Gutierrez to overtake and storm to victory.

Her triumph meant Spain achieved a historic double as legendary driver Carlos Sainz, Sr. also tasted success in Saudi Arabia.

Sainz, who is the father of Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr., won his fourth victory at the event, simultaneously breaking his own record as the race’s oldest winner.

Carlos Sainz Sr. Extends Record as Oldest Winner of Dakar Rally with Fourth Victory

Carlos Sainz Sr. is still winning…

The 61-year-old Spanish rally driver has extended his record as the oldest winner of the Dakar Rally with his fourth victory in the car category and the first for Audi.

Carlos Sainz Sr.,  His son, Ferrari Formula One driver Carlos Sainz Jr., was there on Friday to embrace his beaming “Matador” father as the two-week motorsport marathon reached the finish in Yanbu on Saudi Arabia‘s Red Sea coast.

Sainz Sr. finished 1 hour, 20 minutes, 25 seconds ahead of Belgian debutant Guillaume de Mevius for Overdrive Toyota with France’s Sebastien Loeb, a nine-time world rally champion, third overall.

Loeb had been Sainz Sr.’s biggest rival until mechanical problems on Thursday, but he wrapped up with a fifth stage win in his Bahrain Raid Xtreme team’s Prodrive Hunter.

Audi, now expected to focus on its Formula One entry in 2026, is the first to win with a car powered by an electric drive train. The Audi RS Q e-tron uses an energy converter, featuring a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine, to charge the car’s high-voltage battery while driving.

“This car is so special. It’s so difficult to manage. It has been so difficult to make it work. … I’m so happy for Audi,” said Sainz Sr., who held the lead from Stage 6 after Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi crashed out. “To be here with my age and to stay at the level, you need to work a lot before. It’s not coming just like that. It shows that when you work hard, normally it pays off.”

Sainz Sr., who withdrew from last year’s event after fracturing his T5 and T6 vertebrae in a crash, has now won the Dakar with four different manufacturers, along claiming titles with Volkswagen in 2010, Peugeot in 2018 and Mini in 2020.

He and co-driver Lucas Cruz did it this time without winning any individual stage but with the assistance of teammates Stephane Peterhansel and Mattias Ekstrom, who helped with spare tires after going out of contention themselves.

Defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah failed to finish in his Prodrive Hunter.

The victory pulled Sainz Sr. level with Finnish great Ari Vatanen in the all-time rankings, with only Al-Attiyah (five) and Peterhansel (eight) winning more.

American Honda rider Ricky Brabec won the motorcycling category for the second time while Spaniard Cristina Gutierrez triumphed in the lightweight Challenger class to become only the second woman to take a title after Germany’s Jutta Kleinschmidt in 2001.

Argentina’s Manuel Andujar won the quad category, Czech driver Martin Macik took the truck title in his Iveco, and France’s Xavier de Soultrait was the SSV (side-by-side) champion.

The rally began in 1978 as a race from Paris across the Sahara to the Senegalese capital but switched to South America in 2009 for security reasons.

One of the greatest challenges in motorsport, with competitors battling towering desert dunes and inhospitable terrain, it moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020 and is now the flagship of the FIA world rally-raid championship.