2024 Dakar Rally Stage 2: Stephen Peterhansel makes history with 50 wins, two Hero MotoSports riders in the top 10, Carlos Sainz leads Cars and more

The second Special Stage of the 2024 Dakar Rally featured a fast-paced section that allowed competitors to accelerate, yet it was not without challenges, with many encountering mechanical issues
Hero's Buhler and Bort finished 5th and 8th respectively
Hero's Buhler and Bort finished 5th and 8th respectivelyA.S.O.

In Stage 2, competitors raced through a 463km special stage, starting with a 30km stretch through sandy dunes and then transitioning into fast-paced stretches, going from Al Henakiyah to Al Duwadimi. Including a liaison of 192km, the competitors travelled a total of 655km. The day was highlighted by Janus van Kasteren's dominance in truck duels, Marcelo Medeiros leading in the Quads category, and Stephane Peterhansel equalling Ari Vatanen's record for most stage wins in Dakar. Adding to the thrill, Jose Cornejo emerged as a strong contender in the Bikes taking home the stage win.

2024 Dakar Rally Stage 2: Bikes

Hero’s Ross Branch, the triumphant rider from the previous stage, started first, tasked with opening the track. His advantage of nearly 12 minutes in the overall standings positioned him to seize the bonuses available to the front runners (given to starting riders to mitigate the disadvantages). However, the guys behind quickly caught up, with six riders trailing within a narrow window of 4 minutes behind Branch. Monster Energy Honda’s Jose Cornejo clinched victory in the special stage, securing his seventh Dakar stage win by adeptly navigating the challenging terrain alongside teammate Ricky Brabec and Ross Branch, marking a triumphant return after his last stage win in the previous year's Stage 12. Talking about the stage, Cornejo added. “It was a nice stage, long and hard to navigate, with lots of tracks to choose from. I joined the lead group at around KM90 and we rode together all day. I think we did a good job and, overall, it was a solid stage. I suffered a little crash when I hit some rocks, nothing serious”.

2024 Dakar Rally Stage 2: Hero MotoSports at Dakar

The trio from Hero MotoSports had a good day at work. Sebastian Buhler and Joan Barreda Bort finished 5th and 8th respectively, with Joan now moving up to 10th and Sebastian now in 12th in the overall rankings. Ross Branch maintains his overall lead but now by a mere 2 minutes and 30 seconds over Cornejo.

2024 Dakar Rally Stage 2: Indians at Dakar

Indian rider Harith Noah racing for the Sherco TVS Rally Factory team had an easier day compared to yesterday when he was fighting cramps and a headache. Although he made some navigation errors, Noah finished 22nd and moved up one step in the overall standings to 20th.

2024 Dakar Rally Stage 2: Cars

On Stage 2 of the Dakar 2024 in the cars category, Team Audi Sport’s Stephane Peterhansel's remarkable performance marked a significant comeback, securing his fiftieth win and equalling Ari Vatanen for the most wins ever at Dakar. The day's stage saw a relentless duel for supremacy between Peterhansel and Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Seth Quintero, with Peterhansel coming out on top with a 31-second advantage. The familiar rivalry between Peterhansel and team Bahrain Raid Xtreme’s Sébastien Loeb continued to intensify, with Loeb closing the gap to just 1 minute 28 seconds.

Peterhansel said, “The bar was very low because yesterday was an absolute disaster. Today, we set a decent time and had fun in the cockpit, with nice tracks and dunes in the morning. No flats today and no navigation blunders either, so it was a good stage”.

2024 Dakar Rally Stage 2: Quads

Taguatur Racing Team’s Marcelo Medeiros maintained his commanding presence in the quad category. With a substantial lead of nearly 4 minutes over Juraj Varga of Varga Motorsport, Medeiros showcased remarkable prowess. Meanwhile, the battle for third was fierce between Manuel Andujar (7240 Team/Dragon Rally Service) and Alexandre Giroud (Yamaha Racing-SMX-Drag'On) with both duelling until the end. Andujar took the third position.

2024 Dakar Rally Stage 2: Trucks

Janus van Kasteren (Boss Machinery Team De Rooy FPT) continued his impressive run in the truck category, but not without a strong challenge from second-place Ales Loprais (Instaforex Loprais Praga). The duo duelled till the end, but Ales lost out by just six seconds. Kasteren’s closest rival after stage 2 Gert Huzink, encountered a setback after tipping over his Renault, requiring significant time to recover the vehicle and finishing 8th. He moved down to 6th in the overall rankings.

As the Dakar Rally progressed, Stage 2's mix of terrains and challenges served as a prelude to the endurance and unpredictability that define this iconic race. The pursuit of victory and the spirit of resilience will continue to define the competitors' journey through the Saudi Arabian terrain in the ensuing stages. Now eyes on Stage 3 which consists of a 438km long special stage and a 295km liaison.

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