Carlos Sainz and Ricky Brabec emerge victorious at Dakar 2020
After two weeks of high-octane rallying in the harshest of terrain, Dakar 2020 has concluded. Riders and drivers covered 7500km from Jeddah to Qiddiya in 12 stages, with 5000km of special stages – five of them more than 450km. In the end, 57-year-old Carlos Sainz won the cars category while Ricky Brabec championed the bikes category. Andrey Karginov had the best timing amongst truck drivers while Ignacio Casale and Casey Currie won in Quads and SSV categories, respectively.
Monster Energy Honda Team 2020’s American rider Ricky Brabec has broken KTM’s record run in the Dakar Rally and claimed his first Dakar victory. He also helped Honda take their first win in 30 years at the iconic rally. The Californian stayed ahead in most stages astride his Honda CRF 450 Rally and showed immense strength and endurance in the testing conditions of Saudi Arabia. After the last stage, Brabec held a comfortable lead of over 16 minutes over Chilean Pablo Quintanilla, who finished the rally in the second position for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team. Meanwhile reigning world champion Toby Price finished in the third position. Sherco TVS Rally Factory team’s French rider Adrien Metge finished the rally in a respectable 12th position.
Spanish rally driver Carlos Sainz, driving for Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team has yet again proved that age is just a number. The 57-year-old claimed his third Dakar Rally title despite finishing the last stage in the sixth position. Sainz has now won the Dakar Rally three times, having previously won with Volkswagen in 2010 and Peugeot in 2018. The close fight was between Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah and Bahrain JCW X-Raid Team’s Stephane Peterhansel who stood only 6 seconds apart at the end of the penultimate stage. However, Al-Attiyah managed to improve on that lead and finished the last stage on top, gaining over three minutes on the 13-time Dakar Rally champion Peterhansel. In the end, Al-Attiyah secured the second position for Toyota Gazoo Racing while Stephane Peterhansel finished third overall.
Saudi Arabia boasts a mosiac of landscapes that not only tested the participant’s riding and driving skills but also navigation, endurance and team work. The passing away of Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves came across as a major shock but the riders and drivers showed immense strength and finished the enduring rally, which was being held for the first time ever in the middle-east.