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American Seth Quintero Is Dominating At The Dakar Rally

Image for article titled American Seth Quintero Is Dominating At The Dakar Rally

Photo: FADEL SENNA/AFP (Getty Images)

If you’re an American looking for more great racers to support in international competition, then look no further than the Dakar Rally, where Seth Quintero is absolutely dominating the light prototype class.

Today, Quintero just took the single-rally stage win record that was initially set by Pierre Lartigue back in 1994 when he took victory at Stage 11 in the 2022 event. This is his ninth consecutive stage victory in the light prototype and his 11th victory overall. Lartigue only managed 10 victories.

It’s not a bad consolation for a driver who turned up aiming to break the record for being the youngest driver to ever win a Dakar but couldn’t quite make it happen.

In fact, he was only one stage away from doing it this year. Quintero and co-driver Dennis Zenz won both the Prologue and Stage 1 before a broken differential in Stage 2 saw them lose 16 hours to the light prototype class leader. He’s taken victory in every single stage since, including Thursday’s 11th stage.

“I could have been driving differently on these last 10 stages, and we might not have got any wins,” Quintero said on the Dakar website. “I think it was a blessing in disguise. It took a lot of pressure off us, and I really just had a lot of fun for all the Dakar. We are now the sole record holder for the most stage wins on a single Dakar which is absolutely mind-blowing.”

At 19, Seth Quintero is young as hell, so if you haven’t heard his name yet, you’re probably not alone. He’s been off-roading for ages, taking on races like the Mint 400 before he headed to Dakar — where he couldn’t compete in a vehicle back in 2020 because he was still too young. In 2021, Quintero competed for the first time and got as high as second overall before a broken gearbox saw them lose that position and finish 18th, though he did pick up a record for being the youngest driver to win a Dakar stage. This year, Quintero is showing that this is right where he belongs — even if he’s also picked up some other mechanical gremlins along the way.

Americans aren’t doing too bad in the Dakar this year, generally speaking. Ricky Brabec is sitting sixth overall in the bikes category while Austin Jones is sitting second in SSV. But Quintero is proving to be a driver to watch closely in the coming years thanks to his seriously impressive level of skill.

H/t to Jeb. You’re right — we’ve neglected the Dakar this year, and for that, we apologize.


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