Depending on how you classify the UTVs competing in this year’s Dakar Rally, Seth Quintero may have already made event history when he won Stage 2 in the T3 lightweight prototype division and became the youngest Dakar stage winner ever. But if you’re still grouping both the T3 and T4 SSVs in together, the 18-year-old removed all doubt by taking overall top honors among both classes in the Stage 6 trek from Al Qaisumah to Ha’il earlier today.
After widespread navigational issues yesterday, organizers elected to push back today’s start time by 90 minutes, compensating by shortening the special stage route by more than 100 kilometers. While the on-the-fly adjustment primarily rewarded event legends in other classes, it was Quintero and fellow Dakar rookie Khalid Al-Attiyah who faced off for the win among the UTVs, with Quintero’s margin of victory at the end a mere 23 seconds after holding a two-minute lead earlier on.
Al-Attiyah had more than four minutes over Gerard Farres Guell, his closest T4 competitor, while American Austin Jones was another minute behind for third among T4 racers. Incoming leader Chaleco Lopez suffered major mechanical issues to give up 53 minutes on the day; that was the opportunity that Poland’s Aron Domzala needed to take the overall lead heading into Saturday’s rest day. Jones is now second overall at 40 seconds back, while Lopez fell to third in SSV and fourth overall as Quintero’s T3-leading pace is third-best among all UTVs.
That leaves control of the T3 division itself in little doubt as the event hits its halfway point. Quintero’s advantage over Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team teammate Cristina Gutierrez Herrero is now nearly two hours, as she finished fifth on the day, while Jean Remy Bergounhe was Quintero’s closest T3 competitor on stage today at more than 27 minutes back. Jean-Luc Pisson inherited third overall today from Mattias Ekstrom, who joined Mitch Guthrie Jr. as big-name competitors who encountered problems of their own approaching the Saturday break.
It was a great bounce-back day on stage for factory Polaris RZR racer Wayne Matlock, who clawed back to 18th among T4 entries at 16th on stage today. Dakar Experience competitor Kristen Matlock wasn’t too far behind in 26th among the T4 class, but received a 15-minute penalty on the day that knocked her back multiple spots.
After Saturday’s rest day, competitors will depart Ha’il for 471 kilometers of timed stages and 267 kilometers of transit to Sakaka on Sunday. TV coverage continues on NBCSN with a full hour of recaps starting tonight at 6PM ET/3PM PT.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage 6 Winners
- Lightweight Prototype: Seth Quintero, 4:20:23
- SSV: Khalifa Al-Attiyah, 4:20:46
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Rankings
|Class||T3 (Lightweight Prototype)||T4 (SSV)|
|1st||Seth Quintero, 27:12:55||Aron Domzala, 27:04:29|
|2nd||Cristina Gutierrez Herrero, +1:56:54||Austin Jones, +0:40|
|3rd||Jean-Luc Pisson, +2:36:37||Chaleco Lopez, +35:51|
|4th||Lionel Baud, +3:23:37||Sergei Kariakin, +36:37|
|5th||Josef Machacek, +3:24:42||Michal Goczal, +36:50|