By now, the 2022 Dakar Rally’s two UTV-based classes have settled into a familiar cadence with less than a week remaining in the world’s premier rally raid event. Once again, budding American superstar Seth Quintero earned a dominant stage win in the Light Prototype class with the fastest time in either division, and once again, fellow American Austin Jones ended the day with the overall lead in the SSV class by avoiding the issues that plagued some of his competitors.
Quintero’s sixth straight stage victory, and seventh overall, would have long since put the Light Prototype class away if not for his mechanical issues on Stage 2. In the seven stages he’s won, he has now beaten overall leader Chaleco Lopez by a combined 1:13:39, including their largest separation—17:01—in today’s 395-kilometer special stage from Al Dawadimi to Wadi Ad Dawasir.
Sebastian Eriksson and Pavel Lebedev were second and third on the day, with Lopez and Sebastian Guayasamin completing the top five. Lopez’s overall lead on Eriksson is now up to 1:19:01, the largest lead for any class in the event, while Cristina Gutierrez sank from third to sixth in the overall rankings with issues that cost her nearly three hours today.
Marek Goczal’s third stage win, and second in three days, enabled him to crack the overall top five in the SSV division. Brother Michal made it a family 1-2 on the day, while Jones’ third place finish now puts his lead at 6:38 over Gerard Farres. Back-to-back frustrating days for Rodrigo Luppi de Oliveira have the former overall leader down to sixth in the overall standings, the last driver within an hour of the top overall spot.
2022 Dakar Rally Stage 8 winners were as follows:
- Light Prototype: Seth Quintero (USA), 4:17:14
- SSV: Marek Goczal (POL), 4:36:14
2022 Dakar Rally overall leaders after Stage 8 are as follows:
- Light Prototype: Chaleco Lopez (CHL), 32:51:39
- SSV: Austin Jones (USA), 34:12:38
The Dakar Rally remains in Wadi Ad Dawasir on Tuesday with a 287-kilometer loop stage that balances a later start with challenging mountain terrain. Coverage of Stage 8 will air on the Olympic Channel tonight at 8PM ET, with extended highlights also streaming on NBC Sports digital platforms.