Dakar 2020: Stage 2 New Rules Bring New Challenges

Mostly made up of tracks, this day’s challenge is technically accessible. But you start to get a feel for what makes Saudi navigation particularly difficult. It is time to learn to trust new landmarks when multiple tracks lead to confusion. New rules meant that crews received the navigation book moments before the stage was set to start.

There is more to racing happening at this year’s rally, for some, it is more than just competing. Though he was rendered paraplegic at the age of 20 years at a time when he was one of the leading emerging riders in world motocross, Axel Alletru has never given up on his dreams. Following a brilliant career in para-sport swimming, he decided to participate in the Dakar behind the wheel of an SSV with the following message: “when everything seems impossible, there is still something possible.”

Fourth in Stage 1 after two punctures, the titleholder in the SSV category, Francisco “Chaleco” López set the record straight in Stage 2 with a tenacious victory that left his rivals trailing in his wake by more than 11 minutes, allowing him to take the lead in the rally.

No. 403 Despres Cyril (fra), OT3, Red Bull Offroad Team USA, SSV, portrait during Stage 2 of the Dakar 2020 between Al Wajh and Neom, 401 km – SS 367km, in Saudi Arabia, on January 6, 2020 – DPPI Media

Lopez was among several drivers vying for the stage win but was alone among the frontrunners in enjoying a smooth run through the final stretch of the test – in which the likes of previous leaders Conrad Rautenbach and Austin Jones, as well as Jose Antonio Hinojo Lopez and Red Bull junior Mitch Guthrie, all lost significant amounts of time.

Casey Currie is Lopez’s nearest rival in the overall classification after two days and is 9 minutes 37 seconds behind the Chilean.

Stay tuned for more updates from the 2020 Dakar Rally!

About the author

Steven Olsewski

Steven Olsewski grew up with a true passion for anything with a motor. He loves his wife and kids, and during the year can be found enjoying quality time together. They are a huge part of his life and their passion for God.
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