What do you do the day after becoming the youngest stage winner in Dakar Rally history? If you’re Seth Quintero, you do it again, of course.
Quintero scored his second straight T3 light prototype class victory in the Stage 3 loop in Wadi Ad-Dawasir, leading a 1-2-3 podium sweep for the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team with Mitch Guthrie Jr. and Cristina Gutierrez Herrero coming in behind him. Gutierrez Herrero continues to lead the event overall, boasting an eight-minute advantage over Quintero through a quarter of this year’s event.
The former Best in the Desert champion wasn’t the only American to have a good day in the UTV divisions, though. In T4, Monster Energy Can-Am driver Austin Jones is back up to third overall after finishing second on the day to overall event leader Chaleco Lopez. The duo were separated by just 23 seconds in the dunes today, and Jones’ deficit in the overall standings is now just over seven minutes overall. Only Aron Domzala, Jones’ teammate, stands between them in the overall rankings.
It was another battle of attrition for the Polaris RZR factory team of Kristen and Wayne Matlock, who finished 30th and 33rd in the SSV class, respectively. Kristen’s hopes of an overall finish ended yesterday when she was towed back to the bivouac after major damage, but she continues to compete through the Dakar Experience class that allows entries that have withdrawn from the overall standings to attempt to finish the event. Wayne remains in the overall classification in 20th overall, one of eight Dakar rookies in the top 20 through three stages.
While the front-runners have begun to clearly establish themselves, there’s still plenty of intrigue in the rankings. Jean-Luc Pisson completes the overall podium in T3 thus far, with DTM and rallycross standout Mattias Ekstrom just four minutes behind him and Josef Machacek completing the top five. The entire top 10 in T4 is separated by just 37 minutes, with 2019 runner-up Gerard Farres Guell rounding up those ranks despite losing 36 minutes to Lopez today with a 31st place stage finish.
Wednesday’s Stage 4 takes racers from Wadi Ad-Dawasir to Riyadh, with 337 kilometers of special stages and a further 476 kilometers of transit routes. Today’s action will air on NBCSN at 6:30PM ET/3:30PM PT, with yesterday’s recap airing directly beforehand.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage 3 Winners
- Lightweight Prototype: Seth Quintero, 4:22:37
- SSV: Chaleco Lopez, 4:20:57
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Rankings
|Class||T3 (Lightweight Prototype)||T4 (SSV)|
|1st||Cristina Gutierrez Herrero, 13:32:57||Chaleco Lopez, 13:19:10|
|2nd||Seth Quintero, +8:13||Aron Domzala, +6:08|
|3rd||Jean-Luc Pisson, +51:53||Austin Jones, +7:13|
|4th||Mattias Ekstrom, +55:58||Sergei Kariakin, +16:33|
|5th||Josef Machacek, +1:23:11||Saleh Alsaif, +20:15|