BFGoodrich leads 2024 Dakar with Audi
With two grueling stages between Al-Ula and Al-Duwadimi completed, BFGoodrich provisionally tops the Ultimate class in Saudi Arabia with Sainz/Cruz (Audi RS Q e-tron). Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk (Toyota Hilux) and Loeb/Lurquin (Prodrive Hunter) are second and third.
After last week’s Prologue appetizer, the 46th running of the Dakar got under way in earnest with two stages totaling more than 248 miles in length each.
The first was predominantly rocky and technically challenging and proved complex for BFGoodrich’s KDR3 tires. Young Belgian Toyota driver Guillaume de Mevius caused a surprise, however, by securing the first Dakar stage win of his career.
The following day’s trail was much sandier and saw multiple event-winner Stéphane ‘Monsieur Dakar’ Peterhansel pocket his 50th stage victory on four wheels at the wheel of his his hybrid Audi RS Q e-tron.
With two stages completed, Spaniard Carlos Sainz tops the provisional Ultimate-class classification, tailed by Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi and nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb.
Mitchell Guthrie (Taurus Factory Team) and Christina Gutierrez (Red Bull Off-Road Jr Team USA by BFGoodrich) are currently sitting in the Challenger category’s top five, while Xavier de Soultrait (SLR Racing) and Sarah Price (South Racing Can Am) are just shy of the provisional SSV podium.
Still to come during the daunting opening week of the 2024 Dakar are a ‘Marathon’ stage and a ’48H Chrono’ stage when competitors will be left to their own devices during the overnight halt in the middle of the Empty Quarter desert, with no external support.