Saturday, April 20, 2024

2023 Sonora Rally: Sara Price clinches Dakar 2024 ticket in National Auto

Sara Price is one of the top female racers in off-road, having medalled in the 2010 X Games in motocross and becoming the first woman to complete the Baja 1000 on her own. In 2024, she will add another legendary off-road race to her résumé when she makes her début in the Dakar Rally.

She earned the slot after winning the National Car/UTV class at the Sonora Rally, fending off Jorge Antonio Cano Félix by less than an hour. The two, along with Carlos Castro and reigning Sonora winner Daniel Gonzalez Reina, were entered in the Road to Dakar, a programme that rewards outstanding performers at World Rally-Raid Championship rounds with free admission to Dakar.

Price switched from Polaris to rival manufacturer Can-Am for 2023, and the move has paid off in a huge way as she was the only driver to win multiple stages, claiming the Prologue and Stages #2 and #3, and was fifty-two minutes ahead of Cano. It was a strong rebound after retiring from the 2022 edition following a massive crash. Can-Ams also won the Sonora’s W2RC-sanctioned T3 and T4 categories, while a Maverick X3 driven by Rodrigo Ampudia claimed the San Felipe 250 in neighbouring Baja California earlier in the month.

She and Francisco Alvarez both clinched Dakar 2024 slots at Sonora, with the latter doing so in National Moto.

“We are going to Dakar Rally!!! After Stage 5 of Sonora Rally we came to the finish first overall to win #SonoraRally to get the golden ticket to get a entry to #Dakar,” wrote Price on social media. “This has been a dream of mine since 2015 and words can’t describe the fact it’s now happening!”

Price will be the fourth person to race in both Dakar and the Stadium Super Trucks, joining SST creator Robby Gordon, Sheldon Creed, and Toby Price; the lattermost, of no relation to Sara, finished fourth at Sonora in the W2RC’s RallyGP category. She is also set to be the ninth driver with Extreme E experience to enter the Rally after Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mattias Ekström, Cristina Gutiérrez, Jutta Kleinschmidt, Sébastien Loeb, Carlos Sainz, Laia Sanz, and Molly Taylor; Al-Attiyah won the Sonora Rally overall for W2RC cars, while Ekström was second in T3 and Loeb crashed out of T1 while leading.

Seven entries reached the finish, an obvious improvement over the two-for-five in 2022. However, two of the three other stage winners were not among them as Erick Pucilek suffered a clutch failure a day after winning Stage #1 while Zach Lumsden bowed out on the final day. Gonzalez closed out the rally with the Stage #5 win. Five did not make the finish including Dakar 2023 competitor Camelia Liparoti, whose “Burrito” Yamaha suffered a mechanical failure.

National Car/UTV overall results

Finish Number Driver Co-Driver Team Category Time Margin
1 605 Sara Price Jeremy Gray SP Motorsports UTV 17:07:04 Leader
2 606 Jorge Antonio Cano Félix Abelardo Ruanova Jorge Cano UTV 17:59:33 + 52:29
3 611 Craig Lumsden Andrew Farmer TrophyLite UTV 19:37:29 + 2:30:25
4 612 Carlos Castro Carlos Sachs Team BBR UTV 20:53:43 + 3:46:39
5 607 Brock Harper Steven Geist Brock Harper UTV 21:32:38 + 4:25:24
6 604 Daniel Gonzalez Reina Jorge Hernandez Galva Baja-Son Motorsports/GR UTV Powersports UTV 43:29:34 + 26:22:20
7 602 Luis Perocarpi Mark Wells LAP Motorsports 4WD 131:42:10 + 114:35:06
DNF 610 Zach Lumsden Shannon Moham TrophyLite UTV DNF N/A
DNF 603 Bruce Myrehn Dan Fargo Bruce Myrehn 4WD DNF N/A
DNF 608 Jim Price Sienna Price Price Racing UTV DNF N/A
DNF 601 Erick Pucilek Mike Shirley Erick Pucilek 2WD DNF N/A
DNF 609 Camelia Liparoti Anthony Albano AVID Racing Yamaha UTV DNF N/A
Underscore – Road to Dakar entrant

National Car/UTV stage winners

Stage Driver Time
Prologue Sara Price 5:41
Stage #1 Erick Pucilek 2:46:31
Stage #2 Sara Price 2:14:21
Stage #3 Sara Price 5:37:59
Stage #4 Zach Lumsden 4:11:27
Stage #5 Daniel Gonzalez Reina 1:39:11

Overall winners

Class Number Competitor Team Time
T1 201 Nasser Al-Attiyah Toyota Gazoo Racing 10:29:55
T3 302 Mitch Guthrie Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team 11:17:24
T4 400 Rokas Baciuška Red Bull Can-Am Factory Racing 11:51:05
RallyGP 18 Daniel Sanders Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing 11:01:09
Rally2 17 Romain Dumontier HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing 11:48:21
Rally3 57 Massimo Camurri Freedom Rally Racing 15:59:16
Quad 162 Laisvydas Kancius AG Dakar School 15:33:14
National Car/UTV 605 Sara Price* SP Motorsports 17:14:04
National Enduro 513 Brendan Crow* Brendan Crow 16:37:36
National Malle Moto 501 Matt Sutherland* Matt Sutherland 18:24:08
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship
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