Dakar Rally 2021
Totaling 583 km, Stage Ten of the Dakar Rally took competitors south from Neom towards AlUla. An 83 km liaison led riders to the start of the 342 km special stage where they then faced similar terrain to Tuesday’s tough Stage Nine, with a mixture of sandy tracks and rocky pistes twisting through canyons and valleys. Although one of the shortest at this year’s race, Wednesday’s special still proved incredibly taxing for all, with high temperatures and complicated navigation.
Stage Nine saw Toby Price exit the 2021 Dakar Rally after a nasty crash witnessed him airlifted out, ending his efforts with a broken collarbone and injured hand and shoulder, for which he’ll need surgery.
Toby Price – DNF
“Well, I’ve finally broken my 30th bone! Crashed out in Stage Nine yesterday, I don’t remember much but I’ve got a pretty sore collarbone, shoulder and hand and will need surgery for that… Disappointed to not make the finish and let down the KTM Factory Racing team and my sponsors but that’s racing unfortunately this time around. Thank you Sam Sunderland and Ricky Brabec Racing for stopping to help me, I was off with the fairies that day but I heard you took good care of me!”
Stage Ten would claim another victim, this time with Monster Energy Honda Team’s Jose Ignacio Cornejo completing the stage after a crash at km 252 and managing to limp back to the line, losing 10-minutes, only to undergo a medical examination which saw him left with no option but to withdraw from the Rally. His retirement comes while holding the overall lead. With his withdrawal he’s been removed from the day’s timesheets, despite completing the stage.
José Ignacio Cornejo – DNF
“I’ve failed in my mission. Today I had a very heavy fall that left me unconscious for a few minutes, I was able to get back onto the bike, but very slowly and with the bike all bent up. I made the stage 10 finish-line, but for safety reasons I have to get such a heavy blow to the head checked out properly. I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. I have nothing left to do but thank my team, my family, my trainers and all the fans for their tremendous support and encouragement. We were so close to the big dream… it will remain unfinished business.”
Victory on the day went to Ricky Brabec, who had headed out from second position this morning, opening the track for much of the day. The American was looking far more at ease on terrain well-suited to his style and reached the end of the special three minutes ahead of team-mate Joan Barreda.
“Today definitely was a good day, but it was unfortunate for our team-mate Nacho Cornejo. We heard that he crashed, but finished the stage and they ended up taking him to the hospital. It’s unfortunate for him, but he’s OK and he made it to the finish-line. That’s always a plus. Today was fast with some traces from yesterday and some from last year. My teammate Kevin at kilometre 75 went off the roadbook a bit and got confused, so I took over from there opening the whole way until the end. I was thinking all day about a strategy, to try and sit back a little and set myself up for tomorrow, but the other guys were a little bit off the pace and too far behind. I didn’t want to sit back and wait for six minutes, so I decided to bite the bullet and push all day. Tomorrow I will open the stage. I’m very lucky to have my team-mate Joan and Kevin behind me. Unfortunately, if they catch me, I’m going to lose time tomorrow, but it is what it is. We’ve put in one hundred percent and have given it everything. Hopefully in the end everyone will be happy. Anything less than winning will be unacceptable. We’ll do our best and try and make it to the end on top. It would be great to get all the Hondas on the box, but if we get on top, that will be the ultimate. But the situation I’m in for stage eleven is not bad, but it’s not going to be easy. They’ve made it tough this year and the boys have made it tough too. I’ll try and do my best.“
Barreda, who started seventh, showed fine pace, making up some of the time he had dropped yesterday, the Spaniard finishing second.
“Today was a good stage for me. The truth is that it was very important to get into the groove again after yesterday, where I had a fairly heavy fall and lost consciousness for a bit. Today it was important to make progress. The first kilometres were difficult as there was a lot of dust and it was difficult to overtake other riders. It went well and now there are two stages until the end. I’m a bit sad for Nacho, he had done a great job throughout the Dakar. Now, the most important thing is that he is fine, and can recover and that he can continue working like before. Tomorrow is going to be one of the longest stages so we will have to be very focused so as to not to make any mistakes. If we can do a good job over these two days and get the three Honda riders onto the podium, it would be incredible. But if it doesn’t happen, we’ll also be super satisfied with the great job we’ve done so far.“
Kevin Benavides has taken advantage of today. After starting out from the front this morning at Neom, the rider managed to set a swift pace before eventually posting third place.
“Today’s stage was very complicated, I started opening the track and I was very focused until kilometre 80 where I made a navigation error and I dropped a couple of minutes until I found the WP. Ricky had just arrived there and he overtook me so I followed behind. There was a lot of dust and there were also a lot of rocks and dry rivers, so I stayed a little further back during the whole stage. I have heard the news about Nacho’s withdrawal; it’s a shame because he really did an incredible job day after day. I wish to send my best wishes to Nacho, and hope he gets well as soon as possible and I know that he will be back stronger than ever to continue the fight. For our part, we will continue giving everything as a team and personally I will fighting for what is also my dream. I am very aware that anything can happen so I will try to keep working as I have done until now. Tomorrow, we will have a very long stage, we’ll have to be smart and navigate well.“
Skyler Howes was the top KTM for the day in fourth. Despite his deficit to the rally leaders, Matthias Walkner continues to push on each and every stage, delivering strong performances, claiming fifth.
“Yeah the stage today wasn’t meant to be so tricky, but it seems like all Dakar stages now are really, really tough. We have to focus so hard not just on what is in front of us, but the navigation too. I think everyone today suffered with the dust as well. As the rally nears the finish everyone is pushing that little bit harder, a mistake with your road book can cost you a few minutes and drop you down the order, but it’s so easy to have a crash and lose even more time. I enjoyed the stage, and the scenery was amazing again, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Day 10 at the Dakar was another valuable learning experience for KTM Factory Racing’s Daniel Sanders. A couple of navigation issues early on resulted in the young Australian being caught by a number of his rivals. Forced to complete the stage behind them, the team’s junior rider settled for a safe finish in sixth, conserving himself and his KTM 450 RALLY for the next gruelling special.
“It was rough going out there today. Not the best stage for me, I got lost a couple of times early on and that cost me some minutes. Towards the end there, Skyler came past me and I was in his dust then and decided to settle for a safe finish. I managed to conserve a bit of energy over those last 100 kilometres as we have got a really long day tomorrow and it’s going to be a tough one.”
Following on from his strong ride on yesterday’s stage nine, Adrien Van Beveren, armed with increased confidence in his navigational skills, confidently tackled the rocky terrain that formed a large part of stage 10. Going on to deliver a mistake-free ride, the Yamaha WR450F Rally mounted rider remained in the top 10 through each waypoint. The 30-year-old put his superior fitness to good use to complete the stage as the seventh fastest rider, despite being hindered by dust towards the end of the special.
Adrien Van Beveren
“Another good stage for me so I’m really happy with how this week is going at the Dakar. Another rocky stage today, but a good result on this terrain gives me confidence for the long stage tomorrow where we can expect a lot of sand. Today was really demanding, both physically and mentally but I like it like this. Towards the end of the stage I had to ease off because there was so much dust but overall I’m happy with how today went for me.”
Making a couple of navigation errors on stage nine, Sam Sunderland was able to use his experience to quickly get back on track and subsequently reach the finish line as eighth fastest. Sunderland will enjoy a strong start position for Thursday’s stage 11 that includes the longest timed special of the event at 511km.
“It was a tough stage for me today, I felt good out there but made a couple of mistakes and lost quite a bit of time. The road book is so complicated this year and it’s not so easy to stick to the right track. I was leading my group earlier and then at one moment, I couldn’t find the way. I tried to follow the caps in the road book but ended up riding around in circles for a couple of minutes. I’m doing my best and this year has certainly proved to be tough for all of us. I’m fit and the bike is good, so hoping for a better day tomorrow.”
Lorenzo Santolino and Joam Rodrigues completed the top-10 as top Sherco and Hero riders respectively.
Australian Michael Burgess finished the stage in 26th, 55m59s off the lead, Joseph Houlihan was 46th (+1h34m15s).
Kevin Benavides takes the overall lead
With Jose Ignacio Cornejo dropping out due to his injury, the overall lead passed to his Monster Energy Honda teammate Kevin Benavides, with Ricky Brabec second, just 51-seconds in arrears.
Top KTM is now Sam Sunderland, 10m36s further back, leading Joan Barreda by five-minutes in fourth. Skyler Howes is fifth, sitting just over a minute faster than Australian Daniel Sander in sixth. Sanders did close down the gap to fifth in the overall standings, which was nine-minutes after Stage Nine, putting him in a great position heading into Stage 11.
In seventh overall is Sherco’s Lorenzo Santolino. A further 24-minutes back in eighth is Pablo Quintanilla as top Husqvarna, and Adrien Van Beveren is top Yamaha in ninth. Svitko rounds out the top-ten.
Aussie Michael Burgess now sits 29th overall and countryman Joseph Houlihan is 52nd.
At 511km, the timed section on Stage 11 is the longest of the rally. Leading from AlUla to Yanbu, the route will cover a variety of terrain, with a section of dunes mid-stage lasting for close to 100km. Accurate navigation through this area will prove vital in earning a good stage time.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage Ten Results
|1||R. BRABEC||USA||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||00:00:00=|
|2||J. BARREDA BORT||ESP||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||00:03:15=|
|3||K. BENAVIDES||ARG||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||00:05:11=|
|4||S. HOWES||USA||BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM||00:05:48▲|
|5||M. WALKNER||AUT||RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||00:05:56▼|
|6||D. SANDERS||AUS||KTM FACTORY TEAM||00:09:07=|
|7||A. VAN BEVEREN||FRA||MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM||00:11:09=|
|8||S. SUNDERLAND||GBR||RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||00:12:37=|
|9||L. SANTOLINO||ESP||SHERCO FACTORY||00:15:08=|
|10||J. RODRIGUES||PRT||HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY||00:16:24=|
|11||O. MENA||ESP||FN SPEED – RIEJU TEAM||00:18:06=|
|12||S. SVITKO||SVK||SLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM||00:18:47▲|
|13||M. MICHEK||CZE||ORION – MOTO RACING GROUP||00:19:08▼|
|14||T. SCHAREINA||ESP||FN SPEED – KTM TEAM||00:19:49=|
|15||P. QUINTANILLA||CHL||ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING||00:20:00=|
|16||HN. KOITHA VEETTIL||IND||SHERCO FACTORY||00:25:43=|
|17||J. PEDRERO GARCIA||ESP||FN SPEED – RIEJU TEAM||00:26:34=|
|18||J. BETRIU||ESP||FN SPEED – KTM TEAM||00:29:05=|
|19||R. GONCALVES||PRT||SHERCO FACTORY||00:32:14▲|
|20||M. ENGEL||CZE||ORION – MOTO RACING GROUP||00:32:52▼|
|21||S. BÜHLER||DEU||HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY||00:44:31▲|
|22||A. GELAZNINKAS||LTU||ZIGMAS DAKAR TEAM||00:45:14▼|
|23||C. CHAPELIERE||FRA||TEAM BAINES RALLY||00:45:52▼|
|24||P. SPIERINGS||NLD||HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING||00:52:02▲|
|25||L. PODMOL||CZE||PODMOL DAKAR TEAM||00:54:14▼|
|26||M. BURGESS||AUS||BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM||00:55:59▼|
|46||AJ. HOULIHAN||AUS||NOMADAS ADVENTURE||01:34:15▲|
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Standings – After Stage Ten
|4||J. BARREDA BORT||ESP||HONDA||40:35:48||0:15:40|
|9||A. VAN BEVEREN||FRA||YAMAHA||41:32:30||1:12:22|
|17||J. PEDRERO GARCIA||ESP||KTM||43:54:21||3:34:13|
|20||L. SANZ||ESP||GAS GAS||45:42:59||5:22:51|
|24||HN. KOITHA VEETTIL||IND||SHERCO||47:00:59||6:40:51|
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|