Dakar: Sainz takes cars title and Brabec makes history for USA and Honda with win in Saudi Arabia

Dakar: Sainz takes cars title and Brabec makes history for USA and Honda with win in Saudi Arabia

January 17 th 2020 – 13:48 [GMT + 3]

The 42nd edition of the Dakar took competitors from the shores of the Red Sea in Jeddah, around the canyons and mountains of the western part of the country, over the dunes of the Empty Quarter and all the way to the Qiddiya Sports and Culture Complex near the capital Riyadh. In the end, American biker Ricky Brabec put an end to Honda’s 31-year drought, Carlos Sainz took his third title in his third different car, Casey Currie gave America another reason to celebrate in the SSV race, Ignacio Casale took back the throne in quads and Andrey Karginov extended the victorious streak of the Kamaz trucks. 234 out of the 342 vehicles that started the rally in Jeddah (68.4%) appear in the final general classification: 96 motorbikes, 12 quads, 57 cars, 29 SSVs and 40 trucks. A further 22 vehicles withdrew from the race but reached Qiddiya under Dakar Experience rules.

No American had ever won the greatest rally raid on Earth before. Ricky Brabec and his Honda 450 CRF made history in Qiddiya – Photo DPPI



Motorbikes: Brabec and Honda reach the summit

It had been 31 years since the world’s leading maker had last won the Dakar. No American had ever won the greatest rally raid on Earth before. Ricky Brabec and his Honda 450 CRF made history in Qiddiya today. The Californian moved into the lead after the third special and adroitly defended his advantage throughout the remaining stages. In contrast with last year, when his motorbike let him down with three stages to go, this time it worked like clockwork all the way to the finish line. It is a well-deserved reward for a biker who always tackled the race head-on, but also for Honda, which reaped the fruits of its patience since its official return to the Dakar in 2013. Year after year, the HRC team remained steadfast in the face of adversity, eventually managing to develop a reliable motorbike, overhaul its structure and strike gold with the magic formula for success that allowed it to end KTM’s 18-win streak going back to 2001. No-one else was more aggressive than Pablo Quintanilla behind Brabec. The Chilean biker rode his Husqvarna to a rock-solid second place after taking a year to recover from the injuries sustained during the last Dakar held in Peru. 2019 champion Toby Price took the bottom step of the podium. Finally, Romanian Emanuel Gyenes claimed victory in the Original by Motul class with more than an hour to spare over Benjamin Melot.

Quads: Casale makes a triumphant comeback

A lacklustre performance in the SSV category last year convinced Ignacio Casale to go back to the machine of his dreams in 2020 for the first Dakar held in Saudi Arabia. It was as if no time had passed for the two-time winner of the rally, who proceeded to stamp his authority on the quad race from the get-go. The Chilean dominated the general classification from start to finish and faced no real opposition despite the best efforts of two-time stage winner Simon Vitse and fellow Chilean Enrico Giovanni, who may come to rue withdrawing in stage 6. Casale killed the suspense with four stage wins and an insane level of consistency, only finishing once outside the top 4. The 45 minutes wasted searching for a waypoint during stage 10 were the only bump in the road for the Chilean, who has now drawn level with Marcos Patronelli as a three-time Dakar champion in the quad category.

Cars: Resilience carries the day for Sainz

The veterans maintained their iron grip on the Dakar, a race in which experience reigns supreme. It is something that neither Fernando Alonso, whose auspicious performances were still far from those of his older countryman, nor Yazeed Al-Rajhi, who continued to move up the learning curve with a career-best fourth place on home turf, can deny. The three men on the podium have a combined total of 50 Dakar starts and 14 wins in the car category. An intimate knowledge of the region and the reliability of a Toyota Hilux that has shown what it was capable of made Nasser Al-Attiyah the pundits’ darling, but it was Sainz and his Mini buggy who never deviated an inch from the road to success. El Matador seized the lead after stage 3 and then on the rest day. From then on, he was only ever in real trouble in stage 8, when he lost time to his closest rivals, but he managed to fend off their onslaught all the way to Qiddiya. Lithuanian Vaidotas Žala burst onto the scene by winning the first Dakar stage in Saudi Arabia but turned out to be just a flash in the pan, while Mathieu Serradori made history in Wadi Al Dawasir as the first real amateur to win a stage in 32 years. The path to glory is long and arduous.

SSVs: Consistency does the trick for Currie

At the start of the race in this wide-open and fast-growing category, Casey Currie was just one among several men to watch. The American driver bided his time until the second week before upping the ante, leaving the spotlight to more seasoned competitors such as defending champion “Chaleco” López (2 stage wins), 2018 winner Reinaldo Varela (2), 2019 runner-up Gerard Farrés (2) and five-time motorbike champion Cyril Despres (1), as well as the up-and-coming Blade Hildebrand (2), Mitchell Guthrie (2) and Aron Dom?a?a (1). As numerous as the stage winners were, each and every one of them had at least one bad day that dashed his hopes of winning the Dakar outright. Currie, on the other hand, remained consistent throughout the rally to claim his first Dakar in what was only his second start at the wheel of his Can-Am, beating Sergey Karyakin, who is also going home without a stage win but was happy to finish on the podium after his triumph in the quad category in 2017.

Trucks: Karginov keeps it in the Kamaz family

Coming from three consecutive victories, Eduard Nikolayev looked every bit the big favourite to win the 42nd edition of the rally. However, the defending champion was off the pace from the beginning and ended up withdrawing due to serious mechanical troubles with his Kamaz truck. The Russian maker showed the depth of its team, starting with 2014 champion Andrey Karginov. The 43-year-old bounced back from an uninspired performance in the opening stage to steal the show with seven stage wins and an infernal pace that left his rivals —and teammates— in the dust, to the point that runner-up Anton Shibalov finished over 42 minutes behind the leader in Qiddiya despite taking three stage wins along the way. Meanwhile, Siarhei Viazovich ended up over two hours back after his strong early performances turned out to be a desert mirage…

PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY A first for America

Ricky Brabec became the first American to win the Dakar, beating SSV driver Casey Currie to the punch by a matter of minutes. It took 42 years to see the Stars and Stripes fluttering atop the podium, even though many Americans had come close to victory before. Back in 1985, Chuck Stearns finished sixth overall with six stage wins under his belt, while Danny Laporte was runner-up to Peterhansel in 1992. A few years later, Jimmy Lewis, now working as Brabec’s trainer, took third place in 2000, followed by Chris Blaisa in fourth place in 2006. Robby Gordon flew the flag for the USA in the car category, but he never managed to improve on his third place in 2009 despite ten spectacular stage wins.

A CRUSHING BLOW No longer do the tuning forks ring true

Yamaha came into the Dakar as Honda’s big rival in their attempt to end KTM’s domination of the motorbike category, with two world-class bikers who fit the bill as potential Dakar champions. However, Adrien Van Beveren (fourth in 2017) and Xavier de Soultrait (seventh last year) crashed out of the race in stages 3 and 4, respectively. The Yamaha duo were also the leading French contenders, leaving France without a biker in the final top 10 for the first time in the history of the Dakar. Sherco’s Adrien Metge came in twelfth. It was not all bad news for Yamaha, though, with Franco Caimi cracking the top 10 in eighth place and rising star Jamie McCanney finishing 15th overall as the second best rookie, right behind Spaniard Jaume Betriu.


Nasser Al-Attiyah would have probably traded his victory in the closing stage of the rally for the 6?21? that separated him from the overall leader, Carlos Sainz. However, it would have spelt the end of his own record run of 13 editions of the Dakar claiming at least one stage win —one of the few records not held by Peterhansel or Vladimir Chagin.



Ricky Brabec: “We’re here. We won!”

“At the end, we put the pieces to the puzzle together. We couldn’t do it without every rider in the team. I’m really happy. It’s my fifth Dakar, my second time finishing… I woke up this morning just happy to ride the last day. And we’re here. We won! We had to be smart and focused every day. There’s no top guy on the team, we all work together, we’re a family. We all won.”

Carlos Sainz: “We have gone flat out from the beginning”

“I feel very happy. There’s a lot of effort behind this. A lot of training, practice, physically, with the team… We started winning this Dakar on day one and we have gone flat out from the beginning.”

Ignacio Casale: “We worked hard”

“I’m delighted to be here. I’ve won my third Dakar. I’m elated because it was a long, gruelling race. I had some problems during the second week, but we solved them as well as we could. We worked hard all year long with the mechanics and now I can celebrate this win. Thanks a lot and Viva Chile!

“Casey Currie: “I’m blown away, man!”

“Two Americans on top! I’m blown away, man! Sean and my team did a phenomenal job. The car ran great all the time. It’s just an epic experience, and I’ll never forget it, for sure. This is my most emotional win ever. The amount of pressure that was on me was incredible. I love this rally! We’re coming back next year to defend our title. I’m very stoked for Ricky Brabec, he deserves it more than I do.”

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6 hrs ago


A winner on-track, and now virtually too 👏 Grande, Charles Leclerc! 🙌 ... See Less

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I think it’s brilliant what they have done, nothing is going to beat the ‘real’ thing, but this is great to watch and entertaining, until things can get back to normal it’s better then nothing! Well Done Leclerc, hope you get the internet etc stuff sorted for the next one Lando Norris 🤞

Shed boiiii was the Star of the Show. Great result, Jimmy Broadbent. I hope he will race the other F1 races, too!

I predicted this win! Our next F1 champion for Ferrari!

Really really enjoyed watching the race. Damage should have been on to make things a little different

I don’t understand why damage was turned off and lapped traffic turns into ghosts...otherwise this was a lot of fun to watch. Leclerc drove a flawless race.

Thanks to all involved. Loved the commentary as always, but extra special today lol. Loved the enthusiasm and joy. Happy start to the day here.

Actually enjoying these races, I think they would benefit from replays in the live race, as you only ever see what’s being shown live. Looking forward to China in 2 weeks 😁

Love to see them chatting with drivers a little more like they do in the NASCAR version...just fun to see the banter and get to know them in a little less “business like” fashion! Keep it going...and let’s hope we get some real racing in this season!

This was actually very enjoyable to watch! I'd love to see Max Verstappen at the next race; he'd give Leclerc a run for his money

Massive well done to Ben stokes too being that he’s not a racer or any kind 👌🏻 was good to see JB on the grid even if it was virtual 😋

Charles drove a flawless race, congratulations 🎊

F1, thanks for doing this!!! With everything that is happening, is good to have this races, please keep them!!!😊👍

I enjoyed the race, bring the people and the personalities into it like showing the home iracing Riggs like the nascar guys!🏴‍☠️

Overall a decent race. 👍 That being said, I do hope that more current series regulars get involved, & soon.

Charles drove brilliantly the entire 30’laps. He owned that race.

It was boring. Leclerc stood out high above the other drivers. You can see the Leclerc brothers have trained a lot.

Enjoyed that, good to see the drivers and others having a go.


Charles Leclerc - World champion 2020!

Virtual F1 is such a good place for the drivers they finally found a way out of Mercedes shadow 😂😂


I know it’s just a game, but it was fun to see a race where driver skill matters more than engineer skill.

Really enjoyed that one, some excellent maneuvering

I would love to see football matches being resumed virtually too..

Marvellous! See what he can achieve when the team aren’t fucking him over & making terrible decisions!

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7 hrs ago


The stars of the F1 Esports Pro Series take centre stage in this special event! 😎

Who can challenge champion David Tonizza? 🎮

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My greatest hero of f1 aryton Senna💕

So this is what they do because of the virus? Play through a simulated game with all the other drivers?

Boris Johnson is in hospital stay strong

The f1 intro sounds different

I don’t llike the way I am being treated

What the hell are the F.I.M. giving the rights to F1 to Codemasters for? This would be SO much better on Studio 397's rFactor 2 Simulator.

Brilliant actually really enjoyed it it’s not quite the same for me as I love my drivers but this was great thankyou

Didnt know what to think at first but gotta admit, pretty fuckin cool!!! Can't wait for the real stuff though, Go Lewis Hamilton!!!

This Is Awesome, Still Can’t Wait For The Season To Begin. Go TEAM MERCEDES #44

Feeling excited while staying at home🏎 Hello from the Philippines!!! F1 rules💪

I love it! All those kids that got yelled at by their parents for gaming!! Are the new Hero’s!

Yup... having all of the racers to compete on the video game might be a way of doing it during the pandemic...

How do we get to meet and greet get autographs take photos of drivers 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 this is sad days for the real sport of formula one and the supporters so sad

Happy to watch this. Sad it's not the "real" deal. Missing F1, but, I'll take it.

Is this what formula 1 going to come down?... that is really really sad ! I don't need any VIRTUAL NOTHING ! that's all

I stepped away to tweet about the event for A video game blog and came back and it was over

Listening to these commentators is so sad overcast day in Australia giving warnings, penalty W.T.F

Hello From Syracuse, NY!! THE CUSE IS IN THE HOUSE!!!!

My first experience of virtual racing - loved it. Can't wait for two weeks time.

We’re reduced to watching people play video games. No thanks. I’ll wait for the real thing

I never thought id see the day when F1 the best drivers in the world would be racing virtually... this is a sad day

Am i the only one from Pakistan??? And the race is ON

Here in Brazil, Senna is more than an idol.

Missing F1, but stay home, stay safe guys,xx

Came from youtube race to this and it's volume level million

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9 hrs ago


Leclerc. Norris. Albon. Russell. Button. Stokes.

Join us as stars from F1, sports and esports take on the second ever F1 Virtual Grand Prix! 🎮

#VirtualGP #F1Esports #RaceAtHome
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C'mon get some credibility. If you're going to use F1 stars to promote a virtual F1 series don't invite youtubers as well. Then you might actually get some more of the top drivers to join in.

They should do this with all the drivers. Let’s find out who really is the best.

Still no word on refunds from the Bahrain F1. 4 weeks a now it was cancelled!!!! And only 1 email sent with a holding statement. This is not good. F1

Way more action packed than an actual F1 race. Equal equipment 🤔

Great timing with the Queen going to address the nation and the commonwealth at 8PM (Uk)

Are all those pictured racing? I would really like to see Leclerc in it. But lately all I’ve had to watch is Lando.

Poor Charles, won't win anything but E sport races. forza Mercedes 😂

Come on Ben! Get that P17 back!

Finally some alright racing. Kinda in a surprise to see Williams in the top 3. 🤩😱#ferrari4life

Great to see Button behind the wheel of a McLaren again, even if it is only virtually!

Hello from the uk. Hope you’re all staying safe out there

Lewis has a multiple world champion image to take care of. His ego wouldnt let the chance of being beaten by some amateur or orher f1 driver. Especially since theyre using the same machine

First experience worh e sports! What a way to brighten up my sunday! Stay safe everyone! 😊🏎💨

No chickens or wildlife sanctuary in Albert Park...

Please don’t start until her maj has spoken! Would be good if she finished with “one is now off to watch the F1 VGP”...

Great experience. I was a bit upset because I was actually travelled from UK to see the race 3 weeks ago, but with it cancelled, I was gutted. But this was alot of fun

Only saw last 3 laps, but when f1 back proper, would like to see virtual gp race weekends too, not the same as proper f1 race but filled a fix 👍

Great race lets have the whole season on esports with the gp1 drivers.

Still just as entertaining as normal F1 at a fraction of the costs 👍🏼

The battle between Buton and Russel was amazing ...

Great commentary!! Loving it. Really makes this virtual race. Thank you.

Really enjoyed watching that race, and great to see who got involved 👍🏻

That voice of @David Croft just makes you feel back on F1 again <3

Jenson Button 'claimed' he used to 'practice' courses - on PlayStation, the year before he won his World Championship🤷🏽‍♂️🤫🤫

They should have all the real drivers do this. Part of their contract.

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9 hrs ago


Throwing it back to Laguna Seca 2008 with The Doctor ! 😍

Valentino Rossi VR46 Official remembers an incredible race on BT Sport MotoGP and makes his case for his legendary battle with Casey Stoner to be #TheGreatestRace 💪
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Unforgettable Cork Screw the spectacular doctor's overtake against Casey Stoner...years after it was Marquez against the doctor...in the same corner that's the beauty of this sport!😉

Met Vale the night before ‘08 race waiting for our Monterey hotel elevator...had a nice conversation about No Italy where my husband’s family is from and of course motorcycles as we are avid riders (Ducati). After our brief encounter, he shook my husband’s hand and gave me a hug I will never forget ( it’s an Italian thing🇮🇹🤗) Next day at the race I hiked up to the corkscrew about half way down that section of the track and was able to see the whole incident in real time...awesome race and truly my most memorable Motogp weekend!!

kudos to stoner on that ducati , no one knew it at the time but that bike had serious problems , and still they were both over 20 secs in front of 3rd placed pedrosa , that was indeed the race of all races.

Celebrating the quarantine with my vale gear since I’m not in Austin TX watching the race today that was canceled. I Can’t wait to see you ride again!!!!

Breaks my heart they don’t race at Laguna anymore! Epic races like the Rossi Stoner battle. Stoner overtaking Lorenzo on the outside on the straight! Dani Pedrosa qualifying in 7, flying to the front and winning the race. Nicky Hayden in 05 winning his first MotoGP race. Great Track!

I remember it well, I introduced my brother in law an F1 fan to Moto GP, this was the 1st race he had ever watched and probably one of my favourite races of all time and he has never looked back👍🏻👌🏻👊🏻.

46 may have won that race but Stoner was always the better rider.

Love Laguna Seca was the best track to watch racing from a far especially the cork screw... wish they would go back and race Moto GP bikes again 😢

Stay safe Valentino, you are Italy's gem and inspiration. Catch you soon in the races.

Really enjoyed it today thanks brilliant 💯✊❤️

Look Rosi I think you need to sign up for a team where you where born and where your family is

& the year after in catalunya 09' last lap - last corner with lorenzo was a classic!!!!!!

That was awesome to have some Sunday bikes. Cheers Gav and all that made it possible

MM93 used the same move on VR46 5yrs later: youtu.be/5-FD76BwB08

Aww... Love Vale... Love to hear him talk too.. And yes, that race was incredible!!!

Catalunya 2009 was better, but neither were close to Suzuka 1993...

I was torn between Casey and Vale but in the end racing was the winner!! Rubbings racing 🏁

Really it was strong race between u and stoner in laguna seca...ur bike job very well at that day ...i remember

ေလးစားပါတယ္။ Rossi ,i respect you.

he looks realy fit ... 2 Weeks without Bike 😂

MotoGP have to back to Laguna Seca!

Doctor Rosi your the best motorcycle driver the world

We want u back on track rossi I just can't see Marquez in the podium

Old Rossi looking more like Guy Martin is this lockdown!

My favourite race ! Laguna seca 2008

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10 hrs ago


We end this day with a recap of what happened last year at COTA 🇺🇸

Here's the 2019 #AmericasGP Rewind! ⏪

#stayathome 🏠
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It was such a magical day♥️

Suzuki awesome

Suzuki could be the first one. Greetings to you are a popular gp motto from Indonesia 😉

First Chapter where I proud of suzuki so much

Good win for Suzuki+Rins💥..

Kimberly Sparkman Young magic day with you a year ago!

Marquez crashed...

Extrañó las carrera extraño las madrugada en República Dominicana 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Dylan Jonathan Thomas this was almost my bachelor party trip

Lo recuerdo como si hubiera sido ayer 🐌


Manuel Gschnitzer



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11 hrs ago


One of the best battles we saw last year, or any year! 🙌

Rewatch the sensational finish to the 2019 #BritishGP! 🇬🇧
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Definitely not the Best battle of any year 🤦🏼‍♂️ there's been a lot better than this.. BSB, WSB, Isle of Mann, for a couple.

I am a Honda fan, but I liked Rins raced really great that day.

SUZUKI ❤️ I love that battle of the balls!! Did you see the rear wheel off the track under braking? That’s driving as hard into a corner as you can get! Love watching them and riding them fast and hard!!!! 🤪😊❤️❤️

A master class act from Rims!

I am an M93 fan but you had to give it to Rins he learnt how to tackle Marquez from the penultimate lap. Always going to be special for me as it was the last live MotoGP that my late husband and I saw live 🙏❤️💎

But but but MotoGP is boring when events don’t involve Rossi !!!!!!!

Still my favourite win💥exceptional display of determination by✊🏼Rin's💨..what a last lap💪🏼..

Great day...sat at Beckett's with a beer or two 🍺🍺😎🏁🏁

Glad to say I was there watching this when rinns crossed the finish line the whole stand erupted

Sat in becketts maggots grandstand it was an amazing atmosphere for the start and the final few laps. Made up for the year before sitting there for 6 hours with nothing.

One of the best win moment on gp. I miss so much

I was at Beckett's watching this and even thou I am a mm93 fan i was cheering on alex

Amazing win in last seconds 🙌🙌👏👏

Great video shame there's absolutely no trackside volume or any atmosphere ;-(

Before Marc the races were boring and now more and more come up to speed. Now sometimes it is fun again to watch

Jonathan Rea won becuase his a cry baby shameful what they did to Ducati, he hasnt have what it takes to ride a Moto Gp ,dont forget he rides a street bike with some improvements.

Ryan Bowles when challenging the best, patience is key. Such a good last 2 laps! 👌

Got to be one of the best last 2 laps of a gp for a long time.

I love watching this race Rins and Marquez fighting to the bitter end brilliant...... except at the end and that screaming little girl in commentary 😫

That was one awesome race. Congrats to Rins.

WHAT A FINISH from Rins....

Holy shit that's what I call a nail bitter.. That's a race!

Philip island is also great. So many overtaking happen, even aprilia leads

Best ever battle i've seen in motogp in an all japanese machineries

One of the best finishes ever

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1 day ago

24H Series

We can't get enough of this view! 😍
The beautiful circuit of Portimao, Autódromo Internacional do Algarve 🇵🇹

#thisisendurance #24hseries #24hseries2020 #motorsport
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We cant get enough of this view! 😍
The beautiful circuit of Portimao, Autódromo Internacional do Algarve 🇵🇹

#thisisendurance #24HSERIES #24HSERIES2020 #motorsport

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Patrick Elvira

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