Sainz takes Dakar lead, Loeb returns to lead fight

Peterhansel wins stage two to equal Vatanen's record as Loeb bounces back

DAKAR 2024 – STAGE 2

Carlos Sainz has assumed the lead of the Dakar Rally after stage two, while Sébastien Loeb recovered strongly from day one drama to assume a podium position.

A strong day all-round for Audi was topped by Stéphane Peterhansel setting the fastest time on the 288-mile run between Al Henakiyah and Al Duwadimi.

It was a momentous occasion for Peterhansel: his 50th stage win at the Dakar draws him level with the all-time record-holder, Ari Vatanen.

Sainz was only eighth-fastest but, after his second-best time the day before, it was enough to usurp erstwhile leader Guillaume de Mevius for top spot.

Privateer Toyota pilot de Mevius dropped to fifth, having gone 27 minutes slower than pace-setter Peterhansen; Yazeed Al-Rajhi is now the top Hilux in second overall, just under two minutes behind Sainz.


Loeb had lost almost half an hour to a puncture and a broken suspension arm on the first day and was on a charge; he was second-fastest behind Peterhansel, a mere 29 seconds slower than the benchmark set by the quickest of the three RS Q e-trons.

That performance vaulted him to third place in the overall ranking, 4m17s off the top spot in the lead Prodrive Hunter.

Nasser Al-Attiyah had suffered three punctures on Saturday and started stage two languishing down in 22nd overall; come Sunday he was fourth-fastest and has already climbed to seventh in the overall standings, less than a minute behind prologue winner Mattas Ekström.

How do Dakar logistics work?

A constantly moving circus, the Dakar Rally is made up of more than just the competitors on the stages: there are thousands of support crew, organizers, media and more, plus all the associated equipment to make the race happen.

Listen to Colin Clark’s insight from the Dakar’s second stage below: