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Dakar 2024: Ekstrom fastest for Audi in Prologue, Al-Attiyah misses top 10

The forty sixth edition of the field’s most prestigious rally-raid kicked off with a immediate 27km timed lunge in Al’Ula within the western fragment of Saudi Arabia on Friday, along with your total fragment lunge on sandy terrain.

The Prologue, a peculiar aim of Dakar over time, as soon as extra served as a qualifying session of kinds, with the highest 10 finishers attending to blueprint shut the starting positions of their very possess alternative for the gap stage.

In a class comprising 70 autos, Ekstrom drew first blood as he establish an spectacular time of 16m30s in his Audi RS Q e-tron, even going sooner than the highest RallyGP entry within the bikes class.

The Swede, competing in Dakar for a fourth yr in succession following his 2021 bow with Yamaha, beat the factory Toyota Hilux of Seth Quintero by 23 seconds. 

Quintero, who obtained the T3 class of the World Rally-Raid Championship final yr, led the Toyota contingent on a day his works team of workers-mates lacked the bound to interrupt contained within the highest 10.

Third plan in Prologue went to 9-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb, who executed but one more three seconds adrift within the Prodrive Hunter lunge below the Bahrain Raid Xtreme banner.

Loeb, who’s tranquil searching for a maiden total victory in Dakar after seven outdated attempts, establish the same time to fourth-placed Marcos Baumgart in his Staff X-entered Hunter.

#203 Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter: Sebastien Loeb, Fabian Lurquin

List by: Purple Bull Yell Pool

#203 Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter: Sebastien Loeb, Fabian Lurquin

Baumgart’s brother Cristian turn out to be labeled but one more six seconds within the abet of in fifth, as Prodrive secured three spots contained within the highest five.

In a return of believe for the X-Raid Mini team of workers, as soon as a tall of the Dakar Rally, Polish driver Krzysztof Holowczyc turn out to be a promising sixth within the outfit’s John Cooper Work 4×4, setting the same time as Cristian Baumgart.

Finishing actual within the abet of in seventh turn out to be 14-time winner Stephane Peterhansel within the 2d of the three electrical-powered Audis, with Lionel Baud subsequent up within the lead Overdrive-entered buyer Toyota.

Martin Propok, now using a Ford Raptor for MP Sports actions / Benzina team of workers, and Century Racing’s Brian Baragwanath rounded out the highest 10.

Five-time Dakar winner Al-Attiyah made a rather low-key initiating up to his title defence as he ended up 12th in Prologue, actual within the abet of the 2d-easiest Overdrive Toyota of Guerlain Chicherit.

Nonetheless, the Qatari driver, who has joined Prodrive this yr following a long stint with Toyota, misplaced actual a shade over a minute to Ekstrom, no subject being first on the dual carriageway in this day’s 27km test.

Further abet, 2014 winner Nani Roma kicked off Ford’s maiden Dakar entry with a great 17th-plan discontinuance in Prologue with a time of 17m52s. Gareth Woolridge within the opposite factory Ranger turn out to be but one more minute within the abet of in Thirty first plan.

Two passe Dakar champions made rather underwhelming begins to their 2024 outings. Carlos Sainz turn out to be provisionally Thirty fourth for Audi, shedding two minutes to his team of workers-mate Ekstrom within the draw, while Toyota’s Giniel de Villiers turn out to be even extra within the abet of in Forty fourth on a day Quintero executed 2d in his debut showing within the highest price.

With the Prologue now full, drivers will head from Al-’Ula to Al Henakiyah on Saturday for a 414km test, passing through many volcanoes on a beforehand unexplored terrain.

Dakar 2024 – Prologue results:

Pos

Driver

Car

Time/gap

1

Mattias Ekstrom

 Audi

16m30s 

2

Seth Quintero 

 Toyota

+0:23s  

3

Sebastien Loeb

 Prodrive

+0:38s 

4

Marcos Baumgart 

 Prodrive

+0:38s

5

Cristian Baumgart

 Prodrive

+0:44s

6

Krzysztof Holowczyc

 Mini

+0:44s  

7

Stephane Peterhansel

 Audi

+0:45s 

8

Lionel Baud

 Toyota

+0:47s  

9

Martin Prokop

 Ford

+0:49s 

10

Brian Baragwanath

 Century

+0:55s

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