Jan 10, 2021
231 vehicles (78 motorbikes, 14 quads, 56 cars, 49 lightweight vehicles and 34 trucks) out of the 286 cleared to start the race in Jeddah have survived a prologue and six stages and made it to the rest day. A further 26 vehicles have withdrawn from the race but remain eligible to continue the adventure under Dakar Experience rules without appearing in the general standings.
As different scenarios unfold, the titles at stake are still up for grabs in the five categories, but the current leaders have taken at least a few steps forward: KTM biker Toby Price, Yamaha quad rider Nicolás Cavigliasso, X-raid Mini JCW driver Stéphane Peterhansel, Can-Am lightweight vehicle driver Aron Domżała and Kamaz truck driver Dmitry Sotnikov have the advantage going into the second week.
The 23 vehicles in the Dakar Classic category overcame the challenges of the first week. Marc Douton and his Sunhill buggy lead the regularity race.
Regarding Irish interest, there are a number of competitors in the Side x Side & Light Weight vehicle categories. Bangor’s Michael Orr is a vastly experienced co-driver on and off-road, while fellow Ulsterman Kris Meeke is a former World Rally event winner and works driver. London based Liam Griffin represented Ireland in triathlon events. At the halfway stage, their positions are as follows:
22nd Mansour Al Helei/Michael Orr – Abu Dhabi Racing – T3.1 Light Prototype
57th Kris Meeke/Wouter Rosegaar – Abu Dhabi Racing – PH Sport/Zepher VL
18th Liam Griffin/Stephane Duple – Xtreme Plus Polaris Factory Team SSV
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