It won’t go towards the overall victory that he briefly looked like he might steal, but Californian Dakar Rally rookie Seth Quintero proved that he’s got the short memory it takes to succeed in the two-week endurance event through the Saudi Arabian dunes today. Just two days after receiving a tow to the stage finish and dropping well out of contention for the win, the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team driver throttled the field in Stage 11 from Al Ula to Yanbu, coming in more than 12 minutes ahead of any other UTV racer after earlier dueling with WRC veteran Kris Meeke.
T4 SSV leader Chaleco Lopez was second best among today’s finishers and topped his division, with Gerard Farres Guell, Khalifa Al-Attiyah, and Austin Jones completing the overall top five. Jones yielded another 8:33 to Lopez on the day to slip further back in second place with just tomorrow’s journey back to Jeddah remaining. The gap between the Chilean and American is now at 18:46, with Poland’s Aron Domzala in third the only other racer within an hour of the duo.
As for Quintero, he may not be in the overall hunt anymore, but all isn’t lost in hopes of a podium in the T3 lightweight prototype category. He remains within half an hour of third place Philippe Pinchedez and fourth place Jean-Luc Pisson, although catching Camelia Liparoti for second may be a tall task as the gap sits at over an hour. Current overall T3 leader Josef Machacek had been well over four hours behind Quintero before Stage 9, but has a shot at an overall top 10 among UTVs from a combined 12th place, exactly 11 minutes outside of the top 10.
Just under three minutes behind Machacek in combined 13th place is factory Polaris RZR driver Wayne Matlock, whose rookie Dakar experience may yet end with an overall top 10. After another top-10 finish on stage today, Matlock could be one of up to four rookies in the overall top 10 with similar success tomorrow. Teammate Kristen Matlock soldiered on as well with a 26th place finish on the stage, 16th quickest in the T4 division.
The final stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally takes racers 447 kilometers from Yanbu to Jeddah tomorrow, with just 200 kilometers of special stage remaining. NBCSN will broadcast today’s highlights tonight at 9PM ET/6PM PT.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage 11 Winners
- Lightweight Prototype: Seth Quintero, 4:58:17
- SSV: Chaleco Lopez, 5:10:30
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Rankings
|Class||T3 (Lightweight Prototype)||T4 (SSV)|
|1st||Josef Machacek, 56:35:06||Chaleco Lopez, 50:47:21|
|2nd||Camelia Liparoti, +2:01:52||Austin Jones, +18:46|
|3rd||Philippe Pinchedez, +2:44:42||Aron Domzala, +54:31|
|4th||Jean-Luc Pisson, +2:45:46||Michal Goczal, +1:21:31|
|5th||Seth Quintero, +3:07:54||Reinaldo Varela, +1:36:20|