Sainz leads the World Rally-Raid Championship

14 fevereiro 2024

With their victory in the Dakar, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz are the first leaders of the FIA W2RC, the World Rally-Raid Championship, which opens in April in Portugal and Spain with BP Ultimate Rally-Raid.

The 61-year-old veteran Audi driver took his fourth Dakar victory and made history for two reasons: he is the first driver to win the world's most famous off-road race with four different brands (Volkswagen, Peugeot, Mini and Audi); and he achieved the first ever victory for a hybrid model. With this, Sainz is also the first leader of the World Rally-Raid Championship, trying to succeed Nasser Al-Attiyah, who won the first two editions of the W2RC and thus add the world title in the discipline to his two World Rally titles.

Audi vs Toyota

The Toyota armada occupies the next positions in the W2RC table, with Belgian Guillaume De Mévius and navigator Xavier Panseri capitalising on their surprising second place overall in the Dakar. Despite his podium finish in Saudi Arabia, Sébastien Loeb is not entered in the W2RC, so there are two more Toyota duos in the top four of the World Championship: Guerlain Chicherit / Alex Winock and Lucas Moraes / Armand Monleón.

In the Challenger category (formerly T3), the leader is American Mitch Guthrie, navigated by Kellon Walch (Taurus), in a table where there are two Portuguese in the top 8: Ricardo Porém (Can-Am) is sixth and Mário Franco (Yamaha) is eighth. In the SSVs (former T4s), Portugal had dreams of winning the Dakar, but João Ferreira and Filipe Palmeiro (Can-Am) are third in the World Championship, which is led by Saudi Yasir Seaidan (Can-Am).

In the motorbikes, American Ricky Brabec (Honda) repeated his Dakar victory and is the first leader of the Rally-Raid World Championship, ahead of Ross Branch (Hero) and Adrien van Beveren (Honda). Romain Dumontier (Rally2), Manuel Andujar (Quad) and Bradley Cox (Rally2 Junior) and David McBride (Senior) lead their respective categories ahead of the second World Rally, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, from 25 February to 2 March.

Organised by the Automóvel Club de Portugal, the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid is the third event on the calendar and takes place between 2 and 7 April.

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