Stage 11 of the 2020 Dakar Rally pushed teams through 80 kilometers of the finest dunes in Saudia Arabia. Racing over a distance like this it is easy for drivers to want to sit on top a berm and take it all in, but they will need to stay focused as the rally ends tomorrow. The competitors will take the same footsteps as the first black gold prospectors who explored the region took before the marathon stage comes to a close.
To start the stage, teammates Blade Hildebrand and Mitchell Guthrie Jr. are lead the special in a repeat of yesterdays. Only 28 seconds separate the two young-guns after 58 km of racing.
Before long ‘Chaleco’ López threw caution to the wind as he needed to make up for yesterday’s disastrous stage if he wanted any chance to make up time on the overall leader Casey Currie. In no time the Chilean started to pull away at km 162 by 23 seconds over Blade Hilderbrand.
It appeared that luck may had run out for Guthrie Jr. at km 171 as he had to stop and work on his SSV. It was just another setback for the young driver who held the third-fastest time at the previous checkpoint and had already broken his engine during stage 7.
In the end, it was ‘Chaleco’ López who turned in an all out performance to win stage 11 by more than 10 minutes over runner-up Aron Domżała. Even with a stealer performance overall class leader Casey Currie still holds a comfortable lead with one stage to go.
“I loved it,” Domżała said. “This was the hardest stage of the Dakar till now. There were a lot of dunes, a lot of fast tracks on the sand. We had to change our CVT belt, so we lost around three minutes. One day to go. We just have to finish.”
Currie took no chances in the second to last stage of the rally and went through the stage with his teammates on his side. Currie knows he is closer than ever to winning the Dakar.
“It’s one day to go,” Currie explained. “Man, it’s been a gnarly race. Today was a lot of sand dunes, the big trucks are all over the place and it’s crazy. Gerard helped me most of the stage, he did a phenomenal job, we pushed hard. We kept a great pace.”
“This Can-Am has been phenomenal,” Currie Continued. “Sean has done a great job in the right seat. I love this Dakar. You’re getting it all: the rocks, the sand… You truly have to have a car that can handle all terrain.”
It all comes down to tomorrow. The final stage of the 2020 Dakar could crown a new winner or cause defeat. We will have to wait and see, but we are cheering for Currie and bringing back the overall win to the States.