Carlos Sainz during the 46th Dakar Rally. (Red Bull Content Pool Photo)

Six Stages Complete As Dakar Takes A Rest Day

After six stages and a total of eight days of racing, the 46th Dakar Rally had a day of rest after the treacherous Empty Quarter.

Thus far, it’s been a roller-coaster of breakthrough performances, vindications, debacles, plot twists, comebacks and surprises on the tracks and dunes of Saudi Arabia.

With 2,348 kilometers still ahead, here’s the latest standings from each class:


American Ricky Brabec took over the reins of the rally following the previous special, the sixth of the rally. In the top three since day one, the Honda rider has come into his own, gaining an edge over his rivals in the dunes of the Empty Quarter. Brabec won the event four years ago. 

Of course, with another six grueling stages ahead, his margin of under a minute over Ross Branch is far from guaranteeing him the triumph that he has been chasing for such a long time.

Adrien Van Beveren made hay of the long 48-hour stage in the Saudi sands to narrow his deficit to the lead group. Now third overall at 9 minutes, 21 seconds behind, the Frenchman remains a force to be reckoned with going into the second week.

So is Nacho Cornejo, the winner of stages two and four, who is just 14 minutes behind his Californian teammate and leader. A bit further down the running order, Toby Price and Kevin Benavides fly the flag for KTM, less than half an hour behind Brabec. The Australian is biding his time, waiting for an opening to launch his attack, while the Argentinian, still grappling with the sequelae of a leg fracture, is picking up steam.


After six stages, three-time Dakar winner Carlos Sainz holds the point in the Ultimate class. 

Mattias Ekström is currently running in the second spot. The Swede has been on an upward trajectory since the rally got under way in AlUla, building on his ninth-place finish from 2022 and swelling the ranks of Audi near the top of the standings.

Sébastien Loeb can erase a 30-minute deficit in no time when everything falls into place. Like the Audi drivers, he took the daring gamble of losing time on purpose before tackling the sands of the Empty Quarter.

After emerging more or less unscathed from the volcanic panic stage, he opened this year’s account in the 48H Chrono, marking his 25th career triumph and reigniting hopes for Hunter to take its maiden win.

Brazilian Lucas Moraes sits closely behind in fourth. Belgian Guillaume de Mevius, who took his first stage win and lies in fifth place overall, is 1 hour, nine minutes off the pace.


Janus van Kasteren has taken four victories (including the prologue) thus far in the truck category and Martin Macík has three stage wins.

It was a dream start for Van Kasteren with a clean sweep of the first three stages. It looked like a runaway for the Dutchman in his quest for back-to-back titles.

Van Kasteren has led the Dakar until the eve of the 48-hour showdown. In the end, the man who could finally Czech-mate Van Kasteren is Martin Macík, who has staged a remarkable comeback since his horrendous performance in stage four, when he conceded over 35 minutes to the Dutchman.

He kept fighting, waiting for his rivals to slip up, which finally happened in the 48 Chrono. Aleš Loprais dropped over an hour on the dunes of the Empty Quarter, while Van Kasteren lost almost three times as much.

Macík scored a double whammy, seizing the stage win and the truck lead with more than 1 hour, 10 minutes in hand over Loprais. Mitchel van den Brink, who is Martin’s son and won a stage last year, is sitting in third place at 1 hour, 50 minutes in the hole.


19-year-old Eryk Goczał is already making short work of the few opponents standing between him and the Dakar title, starting with the threats from his own stable. Goczal won the prologue, made it two-in-a-row the next day and completed a three-peat in stage two.

Mitch Guthrie Jr. sits second, one hour, two miniutes behind Goczal while Cristina Gutiérrez of Spain is one hour, 26 minutes behind. 


No contender stands head and shoulders above the rest thus far in the SSV division. Gerard Farrés had a promising start to the event as the Spaniard clinched stage two and seized the lead until he hit a chott in stage five. Farrés rolled over and had to wait for his support crew for nearly two hours before getting back on the move.

Jérôme de Sadeleer inherited the Dakar lead. The Swiss, who had to skip last year’s edition due to an injury sustained in an LMP3 race, lost half an hour on the dunes of the 48H Chrono and surrendered the overall lead to Yasir Seaidan.

Standing on the podium of each stage since his stage three win, the Saudi driver finished the first week at the summit of the leaderboard. Three minutes behind him is Sara Price, racing in her Dakar debut after finishing second in the Rallye du Maroc and picking up two stage wins along the way, with Xavier de Soultrait a further two minutes back.