Spain's Carlos Sainz Sr claims the 2020 Dakar title for X-Raid MINI, taking his Dakar title tally up to three. In the Bikes category, USA's Ricky Brabec fetches Honda their first Dakar title since 1989 and puts an end to KTM's streak of 18 successive Dakar victories.
The 2020 edition of the gruelling and emotionally-challenging Dakar Rally came to an end today with Carlos Sainz Sr. (Bahrain JCW X-Raid) & Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda) emerging as the winners in the Cars and Bikes categories, respectively. This is Sainz's third Dakar title with a third different manufacturer - his previous two victories came with Peugeot in 2018 and Volkswagen in 2010. Meanwhile, American rider Ricky Brabec made some history today as he became the first American rider ever to win a Dakar title. He also fetched Honda their first Dakar title after 1989 and in doing so, even managed to put an end to KTM's seemingly undisputed reign of 18 long years as Dakar champions.
With four stage victories in hand, Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz entered the final speed test with a lead of little over 10 minutes on Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) and his third-placed teammate Stephane Peterhansel. However, as the final stage was shortened due to ongoing gas pipeline construction in the region, Sainz had to maintain his lead only for 166km (instead of 244km) to become champion. As he crossed the finish line, he had only lost about four minutes as Al-Attiyah finished 6 minutes 21 seconds behind him. Also, Peterhansel's third-place finish made it a double podium for X-Raid MINI.
Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso also surpassed all expectations as he finished his maiden Dakar outing in overall 13th place. Despite facing numerous challenges throughout the event, the Spaniard continued to improve with each passing stage as he finished the final speed test in a super-impressive fourth place, just over three minutes behind stage winner Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Honda's Ricky Brabec had entered the final stage with a comfortable lead of nearly 14 minutes over his closest rival, Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna). However, he finished the final speed test in second place, just 53 seconds behind Jose Cornejo Florimo (Stage 12 winner) which was more than enough to secure his first-ever Dakar title. While Quintanilla managed to secure second place overall, KTM rider Toby Price was third in Stage 12 as well as in the final overall classification.
As for the Indian riding outfit, Sherco TVS' Adrien Metge showed exemplary levels of grit and endurance as he successfully managed to finish the 2020 Dakar Rally, fetching his team an overall 12th place finish. He finished the rally in style by securing a 7th-place stage finish. His teammate & Dakar rookie Harith Noah also showed good skill as he secured a 27th-place stage finish in the final speed test.
Final overall classification after Stage 12 (Bikes):
1st - Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda) - Winner
2nd - Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) - 1st Runner-up
3rd - Toby Price (Red Bull KTM) - 2nd Runner-up
12th - Adrien Metge (Sherco TVS)
Final overall classification after Stage 12 (Cars):
1st - Carlos Sainz Sr. (Bahrain JCW X-Raid) - Winner
2nd - Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) - 1st Runner-up
3rd - Stephane Peterhansel (Bahrain JCW X-Raid) - 2nd Runner-up
13th - Fernando Alonso (Toyota Gazoo Racing)