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100% dunes, 100% Yazeed and Timo: Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk go into the tougher marathon stage as “Dakar” leaders

10. January 2024

Further contributions

  • Start of the trilogy in the dunes: section from Hofuf to Shubaytah gives a foretaste of the “Empty Quarter”
  • Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk secure fourth place on the day and the lead, nine minutes ahead of their closest rivals
  • Queen’s stage in two acts: “48-hour test” in the Empty Quarter on Thursday and Friday

Shubaytah, Saudi Arabia (January 10, 2024) – Part one of the dune triad: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk consolidated their lead in the overall standings of the Dakar Rally with fourth place on day five. The “Empty Quarter” already sent its regards on this short special stage: for the first time, the race against the clock was exclusively on dunes – with constant ups and downs, not always easy to drive. A harbinger for the next two days. The Saudi-Arabian-Brandenburg duo will start the queens stage with a lead of nine minutes and three seconds, which is split into a tough marathon stage on Thursday and Friday – including a night away from information and without service by the mechanics. To avoid having to open the route on the following days, some participants decided to slow down or take time penalties. Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk were giving 100 percent instead.

Sand. Dunes. In all colors, shapes and flavors, the grainy surface formed the character of a section that is only 118 kilometers “short” on paper. Soft dunes with chots made up the core of the special stage. Towards the end, the sand became firmer and therefore easier to ride on – but broken dunes were one of the challenges instead.


“A very nice dune stage to drive. And a great foretaste of the next two days in the ‘Empty Quarter’. We can be pleased – we have a good starting position for the marathon stage and are leading the Dakar Rally.”


“A great foretaste of the marathon stage with the 48-hour stage on Thursday and Friday. The dunes weren’t always easy to drive, Yazeed did a great job. We don’t have to open the stage tomorrow, which is good. The next two days will be tough, we are ready.”



… transmission break. This is because on Thursday and Friday, for the first time, a tougher version of a marathon stage will be held, where the participants will be spread over several bivouacs overnight – shielded from the outside world. For this reason, the next news will be issued on Friday – with all the usual information about the two-day special stage.

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