Dakar Rally 2021
Stage 11 saw riders challenged with the longest timed section of the entire rally at 511 km, from AlUla to Yanbu. The route covered a variety of terrain, with a section of dunes mid-stage lasting for close to 100 km where accurate navigation proved vital.
Ricky Brabec led the rally into Stage 11, following Jose Ignacio Cornejo’s retirement after a crash and subsequent injury in Stage Ten. Brabec was followed by Monster Energy Honda team-mates Joan Barreda and Kevin Benavides, while top Australian Daniel Sanders kicked off the day sixth onto the route.
Sanders took a dominant early lead on the timesheets, as fastest rider through the first and second checkpoints, before dropping to fourth by km 215.
Pablo Quintanilla also started strong, quickly moving into second, a position he would maintain for the stage once he settled in.
Sam Sunderland quickly moved into the top five, but was into the lead by the mid-way mark and never relinquished that advantage.
Overall Dakar leader into the stage, Kevin Benavides, also maintained a position in the top five, hovering between third and fourth.
Brabec may have opened the stage and held second overall going in, however he spent most of the day just outside the top five, but maintained his speed towards the end of the day where other riders dropped off.
As Stage 11 came to an end, it was Sunderland fastest through the route, holding a 2m40s lead over next closest rider, Husqvarna mounted Quintanilla.
“I gave my all today – I knew this stage would be one of the best chances I had to make up time on the guys in front. It’s great to win the stage, but it means I have to open tomorrow for the last day, which will be hard. Still, anything can happen as we know, and I’ll keep fighting right to the end. It’s been another really long, tough stage but I’m grateful to be able to just race my bike through the desert, especially with everything that is going on in the world at the moment. I’m grateful to my team too for all the hard work they have put in to get us here. The plan now is to do my best again tomorrow and we’ll see where we are.”
“It has been a great stage for me today. We made some changes to the bike overnight and today things felt really good and I was comfortable enough to push. In the morning it was really dusty because I started quite far behind and it was difficult to pass some riders. But after the first neutralisation I started to find my rhythm, I was happy with the navigation and I was able to start making up some time. The stage was a tricky one with mixed terrain such as some rocky sections, some dunes, but it was quite tiring, especially when I was pushing all day. I ran out of water and started to feel a little dizzy towards the end and made a little mistake with my navigation. Overall, I really enjoyed the stage. It’s nice to be able to ride at the pace I know I’m capable of and we’ll keep pushing for a good result.”
Kevin Benavides was a more distant third, 6m24s off the lead, as the top Honda, with the stage witnessing a KTM, Husqvarna and Honda in the top three.
“Today was a long and difficult stage. It really had everything: it was very technical for navigation, we had dunes, rivers, rocks, but the truth was that it was a very beautiful stage. I was determined to enjoy it and to try not to make mistakes with the navigation. It was a long day. I started third and I was able to catch my team-mates at kilometre 100, more or less. Then Joan made a mistake and ran out of fuel and, later, I passed Ricky and started to open the track for almost 200 kilometres. Later in the dunes I was able to ride together alongside Ricky and not lose too much time there. I think we have done some very good teamwork. I’m very happy with the day and now, more than ever, we have to be focused and give it everything tomorrow, the final day of racing.“
Australian Daniel Sanders finished the day 8m34s in arrears but showed great speed early on.
“I started really well this morning with my navigation and managed to make up a lot of time by the first refuelling stop at about kilometre 150. After that I was in the dust from the guys in front a little and just had to focus on my road book. Sam caught us, so I let him lead through the dunes and then coming into the last part of the stage there was some really tricky navigation. I think it’s been my favourite stage of the event so far, we did some really cool stuff riding between the canyons and then into the dunes. It’s been a difficult race, but I’m feeling good, and all being well I’m looking forward to finishing my first Dakar tomorrow.”
Fellow KTM Factory Racing rider Matthias Walkner completed the top five, another minute out.
“It was another really long day, but I’m super happy to be ready for the last stage now. I was quite happy with my riding, but I was a little nervous with Sam and Daniel behind me because they are both fighting for the top positions and I didn’t want to make too much dust. I got a bit lost and let them past and then from there we rode together to finish with quite a good speed. Overall, the day was good fun and I’m happy to be here at the finish.”
Defending champion Ricky Brabec had to settle for sixth, 12m46s off pace, while top Yamaha was Adrien Van Beveren, as the sole remaining member of the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, was seventh fastest.
“The stage was really long and we are very fortunate to have ridden really well yesterday and we were very unfortunate to open today. It was the longest stage of the whole rally. It was a tough one. I rode with my team-mates. I’m happy to be here. We opened for most of the day. We have finished stage 11. We are happy to have made it this far. Tomorrow, we are going to do our best and will try and finish tomorrow in Jeddah. The results are crazy. We are going to do our best and stay focused. Tomorrow we are going to give it 100 per cent and ride like never before. Anything is possible. It’s 270 kilometres tomorrow. Kevin is 8’ in front in the general but starts just 6’ ahead. So to catch him and then put two minutes on top will be really tough. At this point I’m stuck. I don’t know what to do. Tomorrow we will put the helmet on and give it all we have. It’s do or die. We have to make three minutes on Sam. It’s nice to have someone else starting. We are going to push.”
Adrien Van Beveren
“A tough day today. Quite a mixed stage, early there were a lot of riverbeds to cross, along with some really slow rocky sections. It was almost like riding trial at one point. It then opened out into the sand dunes and I was able to really pick my pace up. There wasn’t as many dunes as expected but this is ok. Seventh place again, like yesterday, so another good result. One day remains now so my full focus is to finish the rally strongly, safely, but to also do my best.”
Completing the top ten were Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco), Stefan Svitko and Oriol Mena respectively. Adrien Van Beveren would later be demoted to tenth, bumping the trio up a spot.
Michael Burgess finished the day in 32nd, 1m38h28s off the leader. Joseph Houlihan was 55th.
Joan Barreda’s Dakar came to an end on the penultimate stage. The Spanish made a navigational blunder which meant he was unable to stop at the refuelling point. A few kilometres later the Spaniard ran out of gas and was forced to retire. The rider then underwent medical checks to determine his condition after a fall the previous stage.
Joan Barreda – DNF
“The fall two days ago really took its toll today. I really wanted to continue in the race and finish as best I could, but it wasn’t to be. I want to thank my team and all the fans for having always being there for me.”
Daniel Sanders moves up to fourth overall
Kevin Benavides has retained his lead in the overall 2021 Dakar Rally standings, now holding a 4m12s advantage over the next closest rider.
That rider was Sam Sunderland, who yesterday sat over ten-minutes behind the leader, but has significantly shaved down that advantage.
Ricky Brabec drops to third overall, with his grasp on the leader expanding to 7m13s, from under a minute after Stage Ten. That’s still a good place to be however, with the top three in relatively close contention.
Top Australian Daniel Sanders has continued his exceptional efforts as a rookie and moved into fourth overall, with a single stage to go. He currently sits 33m05s off the lead, however he also holds an almost 16-minute lead over fifth place.
Skyler Howes holds fifth, ahead of Lorenzo Santolino, with top Husqvarna being Pablo Quintanilla in seventh. Adrien Van Beveren is top Yamaha in eighth. Svitko and Michek complete the top ten in the provisional standings after Stage 11, marking five KTM in the top ten.
Michael Burgess now holds 28th in the overall standings, with a total time of 55h18m19s with a single stage to go. Joseph Houlihan has moved into 51th.
The 2021 Dakar Rally concludes with Friday’s stage 12. Competitors will once again face a long day in the saddle covering a total of 452km from Yanbu to the finish line at Jeddah. A relatively short timed special of 225km will give riders the chance to make a final push and improve on their results in time to take the checkered flag. The stage could still throw up a few surprises however with tricky to negotiate dunes combined with technical navigation testing racers for one last time at this year’s event.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage 11 Results (Update)
|1||S. SUNDERLAND||GBR||RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||00:00:00=|
|2||P. QUINTANILL||ACHL||ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING||00:02:40=|
|3||K. BENAVIDES||ARG||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||00:06:24▲|
|4||D. SANDERS||AUS||KTM FACTORY TEAM||00:08:34▼|
|5||M. WALKNER||AUT||RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||00:09:27=|
|6||R. BRABEC||USA||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||00:12:46=|
|7||L. SANTOLINO||ESP||SHERCO FACTORY||00:15:09▲|
|8||S. SVITKO||SVK||SLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM||00:16:45▲|
|9||O. MENA||ESP||FN SPEED – RIEJU TEAM||00:18:15▲|
|10||A. VAN BEVEREN||FRA||MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM||00:19:48▼|
|11||T. SCHAREINA||ESP||FN SPEED – KTM TEAM||00:21:39▲|
|12||S. BÜHLER||DEU||HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY||00:23:49▲|
|13||S. HOWES||USA||BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM||00:25:53▼|
|14||R. GONCALVES||PRT||SHERCO FACTORY||00:27:06▲|
|15||M. MICHEK||CZE||ORION – MOTO RACING GROUP||00:27:47▼|
|16||J. BETRIU||ESP||FN SPEED – KTM TEAM||00:28:05▼|
|17||J. PEDRERO GARCIA||ESP||FN SPEED – RIEJU TEAM||00:30:33▲|
|18||HN. KOITHA VEETTIL||IND||SHERCO FACTORY||00:41:16▲|
|19||L. SANZ||ESP||GAS GAS FACTORY TEAM||00:51:37▲|
|20||D. KNIGHT||GBR||HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING||00:51:51▲|
|32||M. BURGESS||AUS||BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM||01:38:28▼|
|55||AJ. HOULIHAN||AUS||NOMADAS ADVENTURE||02:54:33▼|
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Standings – After Stage 11 (Updated)
|8||A. VAN BEVEREN||FRA||YAMAHA||46:25:25||1:26:30|
|16||J. PEDRERO GARCIA||ESP||KTM||48:58:00||3:59:05|
|18||L. SANZ||ESP||GAS GAS||51:07:18||6:08:23|
2021 Dakar Schedule
|Stage||Date||Start > Finish||Total||Special|
|P||Saturday, January 2, 2021||Jeddah > Jeddah||11 km||11 km|
|1||Sunday, January 3, 2021||Jeddah > Bisha||622 km||277 km|
|2||Monday, January 4, 2021||Bisha > Wadi Al Dawasir||685 km||457 km|
|3||Tuesday, January 5, 2021||Wadi Al Dawasir > Wadi Al Dawasir||630 km||403 km|
|4||Wednesday, January 6, 2021||Wadi Al Dawasir > Riyadh||813 km||337 km|
|5||Thursday, January 7, 2021||Riyadh > Buraydah||625 km||419 km|
|6||Friday, January 8, 2021||Buraydah > Ha’il||655 km||485 km|
|Rest||Saturday, January 9, 2021||Ha’il (Rest Day)||–||–|
|7||Sunday, January 10, 2021||Ha’il > Sakaka||737 km||471 km|
|8||Monday, January 11, 2021||Sakaka > Neom||709 km||375 km|
|9||Tuesday, January 12, 2021||Neom > Neom||579 km||465 km|
|10||Wednesday, January 13, 2021||Neom > Al-Ula||583 km||342 km|
|11||Thursday, January 14, 2021||Al-Ula > Yanbu||557 km||511 km|
|12||Friday, January 15, 2021||Yanbu > Jeddah||452 km||225 km|