After six arduous stages of the Dakar Rally so far, the competitors now reach a day of rest in Riyadh, ahead of the remaining half of the world’s toughest rally with six stages to go. With three victories already under their belts so far—claimed in the prologue, SS5 and SS6—the team of #411 Xavier de Soultrait and Martin Bonnet of the Sébastien Loeb Racing team are moving up the standings to occupy a podium position in the overall rankings going into rest day.
The three Polaris teams—Sébastien Loeb Racing (SLR), TH-Trucks and Xtremeplus—have already successfully overcome the many extremes of the event so far, including the seas of dunes, technical rocky passes and sandy stretches that have presented technical navigational challenges and spectacular scenery along the way. All Polaris RZR crews are still in the race and continue towards the finishing podium that will take place on 19th January in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia.
SÉBASTIEN LOEB RACING TEAM
After a fantastic start to the Dakar with Xavier claiming the best time in the Prologue, closely followed by Florent in P3, it has set the tone for what is proving to be a great run in the first half of Dakar, despite the teams experiencing some tough stages early on, and inevitable difficulties along the way. At the helm of the Polaris RZR Pro R Factory, the #411 SLR crew has already claimed three incredible wins and currently holds a podium position in the standings going into the second half of the Dakar Rally.
#411 - Xavier de Soultrait and Martin Bonnet
SS6 results: P1
Overall position after SS6: P3
#405 - Florent Vayssade and Nicolas Rey
SS6 results: P5
Overall position after SS6: P7
Initially taking a cautious approach, Xavier de Soultrait found his pace in stage two, claiming P2 with just a five-second gap. During stage three—the first part of the marathon stage—the crew struggled to find rhythm in the varying terrain, and a mechanical issue halfway through set them back, but they still managed to complete the stage and finish within the top ten.
Stage four presented the second half of the marathon, which came with faster terrain but a demand for careful navigation. Xavier reclaimed a lot of positions during this stretch alongside expert navigation by co-pilot Martin Bonnet, which led on to a fantastic victory in stage five. After trailing Yasir Seaman by just 3 seconds at km 80 of stage five, Xavier surged to overtake at the end and claim his second win this Dakar. Now just 22 minutes behind the SSV leader, the next stage presented an even bigger challenge: The first-ever 48-hour chrono stage, which required competitors to stop at the next rest area when the clock struck 4 pm, with no visibility of their rivals' performance and no choice of repair companions. Both SLR crews reached break zone D—only two of three crews to reach the fourth rest area—pathing the way to another win by Xavier de Soultrait and Martin Bonnet. Florent Vayssade and Nicolas Rey were ahead in the stage by six minutes, but missed out on the victory due to a missed waypoint penalty.
Despite taking on Dakar for the first time in the SSV category, the TH-Trucks team are proving that their crews are more than prepared for what Dakar has to throw at them. The #442 crew of Enrico Gaspari and Facundo Jaton are performing well, finishing just one position behind the leading Polaris SLR crew (#411) on three occasions; the prologue and stages one and three and currently hold a top 15 position going into the second half of the race.
#442 – Enrico Gaspari and Facundo Jaton
Overall position after SS6: P15
#436 – Daniel González Reina and Jorge Hernández Calva
Overall position after SS6: P19
#434 – Domingo Román Pardos and Óscar Bravo Garcia
Overall position after SS6: P28
The Xtremeplus team continues to overcome each stage, with all three crews still in the race at the wheel of their Polaris RZR Pro R machines, pushing towards the finish podium in Yanbu. The Brazilian crew #415 of Jorge Wagernfuhr and Humberto Ribeiro is consistently placing within the top 15 in these early stages—currently occupying P14 in the overall standings—with both the pilot and co-pilot boasting a long history of racing in the Brazilian National Championships and the Rally dos Sertoes. Pilot Jorge Wagernfuhr has entered Dakar three times in the past, but has not yet been able to finish, so this year he is aiming to get to the end podium and claim his well-deserved finishers medal.
#415 – Jorge Wagernfuhr and Humberto Ribeiro
Overall position after SS6: P14
#401 – Shinsuke Umeda and Maurizio Dominella
Overall position after SS6: P18
#410 – Michele Cinotto and Alberto Bertoldi
Overall position after SS6: P22
Follow the teams’ progress on social media or online :
Sébastien Loeb Racing Team – @loebracing / https://sebastienloebracing.com
Xtremeplus – FB @infoxtremeplus / IG @xtremeplusfrance / https://www.xtremeplus.fr
TH-Trucks – FB @thtrucksteam / IG @thtrucks_team / https://th-trucks.com
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