The 2022 Dakar Rally is officially underway in Saudi Arabia, and after a full weekend of action kicked off the festivities, two familiar faces are atop the overall rankings in the two UTV classes after Stage 1A and 1B ran over the weekend.
In the Light Prototype division, it’s American Seth Quintero who turned in the top time on Sunday with a 4:21:35, just under two minutes ahead of Chilean veteran and past event winner Chaleco Lopez. Sweden’s Sebastian Eriksson, the former Red Bull Global Rallycross standout making his Dakar debut, ranks third, just under seven minutes slower than the stage-winning time.
As for the longer-running SSV class, Poland’s Aron Domzala posted the top time on Stage 1B with a result of 4:37:26. That was also just under two minutes ahead of second place, American driver Austin Jones, while Brazil’s Rodrigo Luppi completed the top three at 4:02 back of Domzala. South Racing-prepared Can-Ams swept the daily podium while earning five of the top six spots overall.
Other Light Prototype notables included Quintero’s Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA teammates Cristina Gutierrez and World Rally Championship veteran Andreas Mikkelsen, who finished fifth and seventh in class, and 2021 class winner Josef Machacek, who incurred 15 minutes of penalties on the way to an 11th place ranking.
Saturday’s Stage 1A from Jeddah to Ha’il featured just 19 kilometers of special stage, while Sunday’s loop Stage 1B featured a much more sizable 333 kilometers of racing. Monday’s second stage, which will take racers to Al Artawiya, is similar in special stage length at 338 kilometers. Coverage of Stage 1 will air on the Olympic Channel tonight at 8PM ET, with extended highlights also streaming on NBC Sports digital platforms and Peacock.