Loeb strikes back to win, Sainz remains in lead

Nine-time World Rally champion Loeb led throughout the 417km test between Ha’il and Al-’Ula on Tuesday to take his fourth stage victory of 2024, beating the Audi of Sainz by 4m14s.

The Frenchman’s lead fluctuated throughout the day as the crews navigated a wide variety of terrains, with Sainz closing within 2m35 of the top spot after 348km of racing.

However, the Prodrive ace was able to pull away from Sainz in the final parts of the stage to win with a slightly bigger margin and remain in the hunt for his maiden Dakar title.

Mathieu Serradori put in a solid effort in his two-wheel drive Century to achieve his best result of 2024 in third, ending up only 29s off Sainz’s Audi.

Finishing another five minutes off was Guillaume de Mevius in the best of the Overdrive Toyotas, followed closely by factory Toyota driver Guy Botterill and team-mate Denis Krotov.

Audi duo Stephane Peterhansel and Mattias Ekstrom took on a supporting role in Tuesday’s special, with Ekstrom opening the road for Sainz and Peterhansel following him closely in case he needed any assistance.

That meant both drivers finished 10 minutes off the lead, with Peterhansel ending up seventh and Ekstrom somewhere behind Toyota’s Lucas Moraes in ninth place.

#204 Team Audi Sport Audi RS Q e-tron E2: Carlos Sainz, Lucas Cruz

Photo by: A.S.O.

#204 Team Audi Sport Audi RS Q e-tron E2: Carlos Sainz, Lucas Cruz

Two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Romain Dumas rounded out the top 10 for Rebellion Racing, which like Overdrive uses the Hilux on a customer basis.

Nasser Al-Attiyah’s 2024 Dakar outing went from bad to worse after his Prodrive Hunter was hit with a steering problem at the start of the stage, having been repaired at the last-minute following engine troubles on the previous day. 

The Qatari driver was forced to withdraw from the stage and head to the bivouac via a public road, but will have the option to rejoin the rally on Wednesday and bag some points in the World Rally-Raid Championship.

In the overall standings, Sainz’s lead over Loeb has been slashed to a still comfortable 20m33s with just now three stages left in the 46th edition of the rally-raid.

Moraes continues to hold third place in the overall standings, 1h12m02 off the lead, with de Mevius and de Villiers making it three Toyotas in the top five.

Serradori’s third-place finish on Stage 9 has seen him jump to sixth in the standings, overhauling Chicherit and the MP Sports Ford of Martin Prokop.

Botterill and Benediktas Vanagas occupy places ninth and 10th respectively, while Peterhansel has recovered to 13th in the standings at the three-fourth mark of the rally.

Provisional classification after Stage 9 (Top 10 only):




Time / gap


Carlos Sainz




Sebastien Loeb




Lucas Moraes




Guillaume de Mevius




Giniel de Villiers




Mathieu Serradori




Guerlain Chicherit




Martin Prokop




Guy Botterill




Benediktas Vanagas



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