CHALECO LOPEZ & CAN-AM WIN 2021 DAKAR UTV/LWV CHAMPIONSHIP

AMERICAN AUSTIN JONES & CAN-AM SECOND OVERALL DAKAR UTV/LWV

American Dakar UTV hopefuls Austin Jones (C-A), overall leader after eight stages, and Stage 6 winner and second overall Seth Quintero suffered greatly during the 292-mile Stage 9 of Dakar 2021. Starting along the serpentine coast of the Red Sea and heading into jagged rocks, rocky washes and mountains, the brutal loop out of Noem took its toll on the young Americans. About hallway into the stage, Quintero’s Red Bull OT3 lost its transmission, and he had to eventually be towed to the bivouac. Jones suffered two simultaneous flats, and since his Maverick X3 only carried two spares, he had to limp to the finish of the stage, dropping to 10th on the day and losing the overall lead.

After 12 days of racing, 29 UTV Turbos finished the Dakar Rally, with another 12 Light Weight Vehicles.

Francisco Lopez and his South Racing Can-Am won the stage by 11.5 minutes over Khalifa Al-Attiyah (C-A) and put 33.25 minutes on Jones, turning a 19:51 deficit into a 12-minute 25-second lead. American Wayne Matlock raced his Polaris Factory Racing Pro XP to sixth on the stage, his best finish to date, and climbed to 15th overall UTV.

After Stage 9, the Dakar competitors had raced some 3,800 miles, roughly equivalent to what the NASCAR drivers covered during the 2020 10-race playoffs. The difference is that NASCAR’s courses are paved and predictable, and drivers are never more than two miles from their pit crews or a fully-stocked garage. Dakar racers are often 100s of miles from the pits or any help other than other competitors. Those who stop to assist downed racers are awarded his or her time lost helping at the end of the stage.

Stage 10 was a long one at 583 Kilometers (364 miles), and Russian Sergei Kariakan of the Snag Racing Team topped the LWVs with a 3:31:17, but Austin Jones was only 29 seconds behind with Al-Attiyah third in his South Racing Can-Am. Overall leader Chaleco was fifth but only 2 minutes 41 seconds behind Kariakan. So, Jones gained 2 minutes 12 seconds and shaved Lopez’s lead down to 10 minutes 13 seconds.

Seth Quintero (USA) won Stage 11 of Rally Dakar 2021 from Alula to Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

Stage 11 was also another long one at 598 kilometers (374 miles), and youth sensation Quintero took his second stage win of the rally with a 4:56:18 special test, and he beat overall leader and second-in-stage Francisco Lopez by 12 minutes 13 seconds. Fellow American Jones was sixth on the day but lost another 8 minutes 33 seconds to Chaleco. Jones would have to make up 31 minutes and 24 seconds in the final special test, which is only 225Km (142 miles) long.

In the final LWV/UTV stage of 447 kilometers (279 miles), Britain’s Kris Meeke won the special test with a 2:41:11 time in a PH Sport, 3.25 minutes ahead of Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela in a Monster Energy Can-Am with Poland’s Michael Goczal of the Energylandia Rally Team third. Quintero was fifth for Red Bull Off-road Junior team some six minutes behind Meeke, and Austin Jones was ninth with Francisco Lopez 11th. Wayne Matlock was 20th in the stage. Camelia Liparoti (Yam) was the top Women’s UTV with a 23rd in Stage 12 with Cristina Gutierrez 29th.

Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez Contardo (CHL) of the South Racing Can-Am team won the 2021 Dakar Rally after 12 days and 53 hours 41 minutes of special tests. Can-Am’s domination of Dakar continues…Photo by Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

But it was “Chaleco” Lopez taking the overall LWV and 4.1 Turbo UTV championships, adding to his 2019 UTV overall title. American Jones was second overall with Poland’s Aron Domzala third for an all-Can-Am podium. Final stage winner Meeke was the 41st and last official LWV finisher some 85:38:04 behind Chaleco. The top 10 final UTV rankings are identical to LWV rankings, with Matlock 12th. There were 29 UTV finishers with the Top 10 T4.1 Turbo rankings and 29 UTV overall finishers identical to overall UTVs, meaning the 29 UTV finishers were all Turbos. Liparoti won the Women’s UTV championship.

“This is a dream come true and the feeling of winning the toughest race in the world is absolutely exhilarating,” said Francisco López. “A lot of work and preparation are needed to win Dakar, but it could not be achieved without the right machine: the Can-Am Maverick X3. This beast can face anything, and you can really rely on it to overcome any challenge, whether you’re in the sand, the rocks or the mud. Dakar is about adaptability, and the Maverick X3 provides the perfect mix of speed, handling and performance to win this rally.”

43RD DAKAR RALLY LWV FINAL RANKINGS

1. Francisco Lopez Contardo/Chile/Can-Am…53:41:02

2. Austin Jones/USA/Can-Am…53:58:25 (+17:23)

3. Aron Damzala/Poland/Can-Am…54:32:55 (+51:53)

4. Michal Goczal/Poland/Energylandia…54:55:00 (+1:13:58)

5. Reinaldo Varela/Brazil/Can-Am…55:08:07 (+1:27:05)

6. Kees Koolen/Holland/Can-Am…57:31:49 (+3:50:47)

7. Jose Antonio Lopez/Spain/Hibor…57:39:26 (+3:58:24)

8. Marek Goczal/Poland/Energylandia…58:22:11 (+4:41:09)

9. Khalifa Al-Attiyah/Qatar/Can-Am…58:23:20 (+4:42:18)

10. Eric Abel/France/BBR…59:24:57 (+5:43:55)

13. Wayne Matlock/USA/Polaris…59:09:17 (+6:09:17)

18. Seth Quintero/USA/Red Bull…62:15:27 (+8:49:13)

Seth Quintero starts Stage 9 along the Red Sea. American and defending Dakar Champion Ricky Brabec missed winning the Elite Bikes class by less than 5 minutes after his Monster Energy Honda teammate Kevin Benavides finished in 47:28:14.

43RD DAKAR RALLY UTV STAGE WINNERS

1. Austin Jones/USA/Can-Am…3:42:55

2. Saleh Alsaif/Saudi Arabia/FN Speed…5:06:07

3. Francisco Lopez Contardo/Chile/Can-Am…4:20:57

4. Aron Damzala/Poland/Can-Am…3:16:57

5. Francisco Lopez Contardo/Chile/Can-Am…5:47:32

6. Khalifa Al-Attiyah/Qatar/Can-Am…4:20:46

7. Francisco Lopez Contardo/Chile/Can-Am…5:15:34

8. Francisco Lopez Contardo/Chile/Can-Am…3:37:45

9. Francisco Lopez Contardo/Chile/Can-Am…5:31:41

10. Sergei Kariakin/Russia/Snag Racing…3:31:17

11. Francisco Lopez Contardo/Chile/Can-Am…5:08:03

12. Reinaldo Varela/Brazil/Can-Am…2:44:26

 

43RD DAKAR RALLY UTV FINAL RANKINGS

1. Francisco Lopez Contardo/Chile/Can-Am…53:41:02

2. Austin Jones/USA/Can-Am…53:58:25 (+17:23)

3. Aron Damzala/Poland/Can-Am…54:32:55 (+51:53)

4. Michal Goczal/Poland/Energylandia…54:55:00 (+1:13:58)

5. Reinaldo Varela/Brazil/Can-Am…55:08:07 (+1:27:05)

6. Kees Koolen/Holland/Can-Am…57:31:49 (+3:50:47)

7. Jose Antonio Lopez/Spain/Hibor…57:39:26 (+3:58:24)

8. Marek Goczal/Poland/Energylandia…58:22:11 (+4:41:09)

9. Khalifa Al-Attiyah/Qatar/Can-Am…58:23:20 (+4:42:18)

10. Eric Abel/France/BBR…59:24:57 (+5:43:55)

12. Wayne Matlock/USA/Polaris…59:09:17 (+6:09:17)

Stephane “Mr. Dakar” Peterhansel (FRA) is hoisted by Nasser Al-Attiyah (2nd, Toyota) and Carlos Sainz (3rd, Mini)  for winning his 14th Dakar; he won six on bikes and eight in cars. Win #14 comes 30 years after his first victory. Photo by Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

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