2024 Dakar Rally Stage 12: Harith Noah wins Rally 2, Audi gets their first Dakar title, Macik wins in trucks and Andujar wins his second Dakar
The 2024 Dakar Rally, a gruelling test of endurance and skill, concluded its thrilling journey with the final Stage 12 travelling over 8,000km across 2 weeks from the start, marking the end of an intense and challenging competition. Spanning a total of 175 kilometres in the special stage and an additional 153 kilometres in the liaison, the rally looped from Yanbu back to Yanbu, pushing competitors to their limits across various terrains. Known for its rigorous demands and unpredictable nature, this year's Dakar lived up to its reputation, being touted as tougher than ever before, with participants battling not only the harsh elements but also each other, in a quest for glory and triumph in one of the world's most demanding motorsport events.
2024 Dakar Rally Stage 12: Bikes
The final special began with Hero’s Ross Branch and Honda’s Ricky Brabec as the first riders, with just over 10 minutes separating them in the general rankings. Branch as the opener, had the opportunity to leverage bonuses, but the question remained whether it would be sufficient to bridge the gap with his American rival.
At the 33km mark, Branch and Brabec were neck-to-neck, with Branch just 4 seconds behind Brabec in the stage rankings. The threat for overall rankings however had increased for Branch as Honda’s Adrien Van Beveren gained over a minute and was now less than 3 minutes behind Branch in the overall rankings. Further into the stage, Kevin Benavides of Red Bull KTM and Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla, both took turns to set the fastest times.
Kevin however had the last laugh as he came home with the best time thus winning Stage 12. The outcome saw Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda) secure his second Dakar victory, adding to his first in 2020. Ross Branch (Hero MotoSports) and Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy Honda) joined him on the podium for the first time in their careers.
2024 Dakar Rally Stage 12: Cars
Stage 11 witnessed Sebastien Loeb (Bahrain Raid Xtreme) struggling yet managing to only slip down one position in the overall rankings. His perseverance paid off, especially as Lucas Moraes, who had been in third place, suffered significant setbacks. Audi’s Carlos Sainz, having overtaken Loeb, opted for a cautious driving style. Because of that, he crossed the finish line and maintained his top position in the overall rankings.
Today Sebastien Loeb was quick off the line and maintained a strong pace to ultimately win the stage. But he couldn’t close the gap to Carlos Sainz who triumphed, claiming his fourth Dakar title. Loeb, despite his valiant efforts and winning the stage (his fifth victory of the year), could not surpass Guillaume de Mevius of Overdrive Racing for second place overall. Nevertheless, Loeb's performance was commendable, showcasing his resilience and skill in one of the most challenging motorsport events.
2024 Dakar Rally Stage 12: Quads
At the onset of the final stage, only a margin of 8 minutes and 14 seconds separated Manuel Andujar (7240 Team), the 2021 champion, from Alexandre Giroud (Yamaha Racing), the reigning double title holder aspiring for a hat-trick. Throughout the rally, Andujar maintained a steady lead, demonstrating consistent performance. Giroud, on the other hand, was in a relentless pursuit, showcasing his championship pedigree. As the quads raced through the last 175km of the Dakar, Giroud was again on the hunt, clocking the best time in an attempt to overturn the deficit. Despite his efforts, Andujar remained in control, staying only 45 seconds behind Giroud. This close gap was crucial in ensuring that Andujar kept his overall lead intact. Ultimately, while Giroud won the final stage, his victory was not sufficient to close the gap on Andujar. The Argentinean rider's consistent performance throughout the rally, coupled with his strategic prowess in the final stages, enabled him to secure his second Dakar title.
2024 Dakar Rally Stage 12: Trucks
The truck category of the 2024 Dakar Rally saw an impressive performance from Martin Macik of MM Technology, culminating in his first Dakar victory in this category. Stage 12, like the previous ones, saw him play strategically and keep up his lead in the overall rankings. Although his rivals Ales Loprais (Instaforex Loprais Praga) and Janus Van Kasteren (Boss Machinery), both won multiple stages in the rally, Macik’s considerable lead and consistent performance throughout the previous stages had set him up for overall success.
The result was a momentous occasion for Macík, as he crossed the finish line in Yanbu, claiming his first Dakar win in the truck category. This victory was especially significant considering it came in his 12th participation in the Dakar Rally, a testament to his persistence, skill, and dedication to the sport.