Dakar 2019 Stage Nine
Pisco > Pisco – 409 km Jan 16th
One more day to go…. That is what is on the minds of Dakar Rally riders as they overnight in Pisco after completing the penultimate stage of Dakar 2019. Thursday will see competitors negotiate the final 359 kilometre Stage Ten to the finish line at the Peruvian capital of Lima. The final stage will include a timed special stage of 112 kilometres. Riders will then have to complete a liaison section that will bring them to the finish line on Magdalena Beach.
For some though Stage Nine brought the ultimate heartbreak. After putting in a consistently fast performance throughout Dakar 2019 Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren went out of the rally with a technical failure on the WR450F. With Honda’s Ricky Brabec suffering a similar fate on the previous stage, albeit while leading the Rally outright, this puts the Austrian made KTM and Husqvarna brands into a 1-2-3-4 at the top of the outright leaderboard. Van Beveren spent four hours struggling with the issue but eventually had to admit defeat, his Rally has been run.
2019 Dakar Stage Nine Video
Alexandre Kowalski – Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team Director
“It is always disappointing to lose a good chance to battle for the victory, but the Dakar has left us with mixed emotions today. On one hand, we were glad to see Xavier move up in the overall standings. Xavier has worked really hard these last few months and he really deserves to be up there. As for Adrien, he was having an amazing race so far. He was one of the most consistent racers and never finished outside the top seven in any of the stages contested. Also, Adrien was opening the tracks for most stages showing his good navigation skills. This DNF might be a harsh blow for all, but Adrien proved again this year he’s one of the most complete rally racers in the world. Despite his young age he’s really mature as a racer and I personally believe there’s still more to come from him in the future.”
The stage saw another motocross style mass-start with riders setting off in waves of 10, determined by their finishing positions from the previous day’s stage. Heading into the dunes for the 313-kilometre timed special, the first group of riders stuck together for the majority of the stage.
It was somewhat of a cat and mouse game unfold among the top trio of Price, Quintanilla and Walkner with only a single second covering that trio at the end of the penultimate stage of Dakar 2019.
Toby Price has maintained his one-minute lead over Quintanilla heading into the final day. The wrist that the 31-year-old broke and had pinned in the lead up to Dakar 2019 is giving him major grief, but he is determined to hold on for the run to the finish line.
Toby Price – Stage P5 – Overall P1
“I got through stage nine today where we had the mass-start. There was no chance to make up any time or lose time really, I just had to stick with the group. Tomorrow is only a 100-kilometre stage, but I think it’s going to feel more like 300. The boys are really going to up their pace and all I can do is try my best once more and try to stay with them. If I can get through tomorrow and finish on the podium, I’ll be more than happy.”
Pablo Quintanilla is currently placed second overall, one-minute and two-seconds behind Price, and is set to make history by securing Husqvarna’s best result at the prestigious annual rally.
Pablo Quintanilla – Stage P3 – Overall P2
“I’m in a great spot right now to battle for the win and I’m really happy about that. Securing a podium result would be great for me and the team, but honestly my eyes are set on getting the win here in Peru. Today’s stage worked quite well for me. The mass start made it all more interesting. There were some tricky waypoints to make, but overall I felt good and managed to get a good time. Tomorrow I’m determined to give it all for the win. There’s just one minute separating me and Toby [Price] and the day will be long. No matter what happens tomorrow I am very satisfied with my performance at this Dakar. I gave 100% on each day and that’s what matters the most for me.”
Placing fourth on Stage Nine, Matthias Walkner lies third overall in the general standings, six minutes and 35 seconds behind Price. Despite the deficit, Walkner’s advantage over the fourth-placed rider is considerable, and the defending Dakar champion has no choice but to push on tomorrow’s stage to make up as much time as possible.
Matthias Walkner – Stage P4 – Overall P3
“The stage felt really long today, partly because the pace was up and down all of the time. Riding in a group sometimes someone will push and everyone gets faster and then things will slow down again. Riding in the dust was tough and it made navigation tricky – we got lost a few times trying to find waypoints. I didn’t lose any time to the others though and I have a good gap to the next rider in the standings. Tomorrow there is no time for strategy, so I will give it my best and see where I finish.”
Remaining calm and focused, Andrew Short has climbed up to an impressive fourth place in the Dakar’s provisional overall standings after Stage Nine. Claiming a seventh place result for the day, the American racer is looking forward to tomorrow’s final stage.
Andrew Short – Stage P7 – Overall P4
“There’s been a lot of chaos over the last few days. My plan from the beginning of this race was to just focus on my performance and try to be as smooth and consistent as possible. I’m happy to see my strategy is paying off. This fourth place in the overall is simply amazing. The moto start today was great fun for me. After the start, the terrain became a bit tricky and dangerous at some parts. There was a lot of dust and you really had to pay attention on the road book. That was stressful and there was this one waypoint at the end that was super tricky. The fatigue is setting in right now, but nevertheless I am really looking forward to reaching the finish line in Lima tomorrow.”
The first Yamaha on the overall leaderboard is now Frenchman Xavier De Soultrait, one position ahead of leading Honda ridden by young Chilean José Ignacio Cornejo, better known as Nacho.
Xavier de Soultrait – Stage P10 – Overall P5
“I felt good in the stage today and managed to control my rhythm from start to finish. That was possibly the first stage in this second week of the Dakar where I felt so confident with my navigation. It was a tough stage, but not that hard to create any problems for me. I really enjoyed racing in the dunes today and for a big part of the stage we were riding in groups with other competitors. My bike is running great and I feel it gives me the confidence to push in these tricky conditions. Tomorrow we will race a smaller special of just over 100km. This Dakar has been a tough one and this fifth place in the overall gives me the motivation to keep working hard for the future.”
Nacho debuted last year as a last minute fill-in for the injured Paulo Goncalves and went on to finish in the top ten, and thus earned his position as an official HRC rider for 2019.
José Ignacio Cornejo – Stage P6 – Overall P6
“In this penultimate stage there was a mass start, so we were all pretty close together all day. As a consequence there was a lot of dust and we had to keep a distance so that it wasn’t so dangerous. In the dunes we all got together again and lost a few minutes looking for several complicated waypoints, but I was happy to see how quickly we solved the navigation problems. I’ve continued climbing positions in the general standings, and now I’m sixth which I’m happy about. Tomorrow is the last day and I will try to set the same pace as I have over recent day.”
Setting off in the first wave of 10 riders this morning, Luciano Benavides had his first taste of mixing it with the rally leaders on a mass-start stage. Despite losing time to the group when fog once again affected visibility on the route, Benavides was able to push on and navigate himself back to the other riders. Currently lying seventh overall, the Argentinian will be aiming for another strong ride on tomorrow’s final stage to secure his place inside the top-10.
Luciano Benavides – Stage P9 – Overall P7
“Today was good fun but really chaotic. We all started together and it was my first time in the lead group. I did manage to get lost at one point when I followed some old tracks but I was able to find my way again and catch back up to the pack ahead. At the finish I don’t think I lost too much time. My goal coming into the race was to get a top-10 result and hopefully if everything goes well tomorrow, I should be able to better that so I’m really happy.”
Kevin Benavides had come out guns blazing and opened the track for much of the special. A hard-to-locate waypoint caused the first wave of riders to reach the leading group and narrow the times down even further. Benavides eventually posted the eighth fastest stage time but had been sanctioned with a three-minute penalty from Stage Eight after race authorities deemed that the rider had violated one of the new rules established for the race. The team is currently gathering all the necessary information to present an official claim against the sanction.
Kevin Benavides – Stage P8 – Overall P12
“The truth is that today was difficult to start, as I was affected by the sanction given to me yesterday. I tried to get it out of my head and start from scratch. I opened the track most of the day and several of the riders grouped together. In the end there were some complicated waypoints and the riders of the second group starting catching us up. It was a good stage to finish on a high note. Honda has done things well, so let’s finish the race and see what happens.”
Another rider penalised, but much more severely, was KTM’s Sam Sunderland. Officials deemed that the Briton had deliberately caused the reported fault in his navigation system at the start of Stage Eight. A stage that he was supposed to open the road on as the first rider away, but due to the delay with his machine he was able to start behind other riders. Sunderland finished Stage Nine in 12th place, just ahead of Laia Sanz. Sunderland, the 2017 Dakar winner, had still been in contention for an outright podium position but that one-hour time penalty pushes him back to eighth overall, one-hour and ten-minutes behind Rally leader Toby Price. There was no mention of the penalty in KTM’s official releases or in Sunderland’s quotes… Or whether they would appeal the penalty….
Sam Sunderland – Stage P12 – Overall P8
“Today’s stage went ok, I found it a little tricky to focus and couldn’t quite get into my rhythm. I lost a little time on the group but all-in-all had a good day. There’s one last stage to race and of course I plan to give it my best.”
Laia Sanz enjoyed another consistent ride on today’s stage. Setting off in the second wave, Laia successfully stayed with the group until a small issue caused her to lose touch. Quickly rectifying the problem, the Spaniard set off again to ultimately complete the stage in 13th place. She now sits 11th in the provisional overall standings.
Laia Sanz – Stage P13 – Overall P11
“I am really surprised with my result so far, I haven’t been pushing too hard on any of the stages, just keeping to a good rhythm. I had a small issue today that cost me about five minutes, which was a shame because I lost touch with the group I had been riding with. Physically I felt better today too, so I am pleased about that. We only have one more day to go and I know it will feel very, very long. You start to listen to every noise on the bike and hope that nothing goes wrong. The plan is to make it to the finish and I will be really happy.”
2019 Dakar Rally
Provisional Results Stage Nine
- METGE Michael FRA Sherco 03:46’38
- NOSIGLIA Daniel BOL Honda +02’00
- QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Husqvarna +03’28
- WALKNER Matthias AUT KTM +03’29
- PRICE Toby AUS KTM +03’29
- CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Honda +03’30
- SHORT Andrew USA Husqvarna +04’03
- BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Honda +03’03
- BENAVIDES Luciano ARG KTM +04’55
- DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha +04’56
2019 Dakar Rally Outright Standings after Stage Nine
- PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory 32:42’15
- QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Rockstar Husqvarna Factory +01’02
- WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +06’35
- SHORT Andrew USA Rockstar Husqvarna Factory +40’01
- DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha Official Rally Team +47’44
- CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda +01:05’45
- BENAVIDES Luciano ARG Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +01:05’50
- SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +01:10’15
- MENA Oriol SPA Hero Motorsports Team +01:52’20
- NOSIGLIA Daniel BOL Honda Argentina +02:21’51
12 BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda +03:22’15