Dakar Rally 2021
Stage Six (Shortened)
Riders would see a shortened Stage Six of the 2021 Dakar Rally, with departure delayed by 90-minutes, while 100 km was lopped off the overall course. Riders will still have to tackle plenty of sand and dunes however, before the well earnt rest day in Ha’il, marking the mid-point of Dakar 2021.
Opening the stage was Stage Five winner Kevin Benavides, followed by Jose Ignacio Cornejo and Toby Price, with Kenavides quickly falling away. Ross Branch moved into the top three by the first checkpoint but fastest to that same checkpoint was Joan Barreda in a sign of things to come.
By km 202 Barreda still held the lead, with Price just a minute behind. Ricky Brabec and Daniel Sanders were both within 15-seconds of Price, with Branch also in close competition.
A larger gap meanwhile had started to form to those outside the top five, with Adrian Van Beveren closest to the leaders.
39 km later by the next checkpoint, Sanders had moved into second, just a second ahead of Branch on the timesheets, with Brabec 9s further adrift. Price dropped to fifth, losing about a minute.
Reaching the finish line not a lot had changed, Barreda retaining the lead to claim the stage win – his third for the week, with Branch overtaking Sanders for second.
“I’m very happy with this victory, one more and the third this week. The truth is that I would never have imagined it, but the most important thing is that we are physically fit and the bike is perfect. We are looking forward to the second week. Let’s see if we have a bit more luck with the strategy and we can keep up the pace and climb positions.”
“A really good stage for me today, so close to the win! It was a fun day on the bike. All the sandy tracks meant that I didn’t have to rely too much on my navigation and I just went as hard as I could. So close to the win but I’m really happy anyway. I’m now looking forward to the rest day tomorrow and I’m excited for another week of racing.”
“It was definitely a physical one today that’s for sure, and on top of yesterday, it’s been a really tough couple of days. I tried my best to make up time today and think I did a good job, the stage started off quite tricky and then opened out to be really fast. This first week has gone well, I’ve certainly learned a lot too, and I’m happy with my pace. We’ve still got a long way to go, but I’ve been really enjoying myself.”
Brabec was a more distant fourth, ahead of Matthias Walkner and Van Beveren.
“The stage was pretty good. Faster tracks. Faster than normal. It was a little bit better with navigation – a little bit easier. We made it to rest day, that was goal number one. Goal number two would be make it to the finish-line. I’m really happy to make it here, but I’m not ready for a day off. It’s mandatory so I’m going to take tomorrow off and take some rest, then attack six more days along the Red Sea. We didn’t really make up as much time today as we were thinking or hoping, but it is what it is at the moment. There’s still six days to go but it’s going to be really hard. The group is spread far apart so it’s really hard to manage. I don’t think that anyone has an idea how to manage this thing yet. Things are changing everyday, but we can only hope that things turn around. We can’t say much, but we have to just take it day by day.”
“It was a really nice stage today, but surprisingly fast. I pretty much rode my own race but was caught by Ross Branch at one point and his pace was really strong, so we rode together to the finish. Overall, I’m happy with my first week, it’s just frustrating that the issue I had on the second day has prevented any chances of fighting for the podium. All I can do now is keep pushing every day, get to the finish, and enjoy the race.”
Adrien Van Beveren
“Today was much better, especially compared to yesterday. I had a good feeling with the bike and was able to push the whole time. I’m still disappointed about yesterday but I will keep my head up and take it day by day. Rest day tomorrow but for the remaining stages I am positive. My bike is good and I feel strong so next week will be really good for me.”
With his seventh-place result, Price lost the very minimum of time to his rivals, 3m54s off pace, putting him in an ideal position heading into the mid-point rest.
“Today they cut about 100km out of the stage and that definitely helped us because it’s still been a really tough day out there. It took a while, but I managed to catch the two guys ahead of me and luckily we were able to keep up a really good pace right at the front. I did have one little get-off that twisted the road book tower a little bit but apart from that there were no problems. It feels great to have taken the overall lead, but after such an up and down week the most important thing is we’re fit and in good shape for the second half of the rally. The plan now is to enjoy the rest day and then hopefully more of the same next week.”
Completing the top-ten for the stage were Joaquim Rodrigues, Sam Sunderland and Pablo Quintanilla.
“Another long day and it was really, really fast. I tried my hardest to catch up to the guys in front but their pace was quite high and so I ended up riding most of the stage on my own, concentrating on my road book and trying to ensure a safe finish before rest day. This first week has been good, I’ve been able to avoid the big yo-yo effect of leading out and then playing catch up by just staying consistent every day. It seems to have paid off too, because I’m in a good position overall and feel strong for next week.”
“Today was the last day before the rest day. It was quite a tough one, mostly ridden in between the dunes and valleys. As the whole day was really fast it was difficult to make up a lot of time on the leaders. I’m pleased with how I rode and happy that we have the rest day now. The first week has been good, thankfully it has gone without any problems – I feel good and have not had any big crashes. We still have six days to go, so there is a lot of riding left to do.”
José Ignacio Cornejo
“Today was a tough, long stage with only sand and dunes. My team-mate Kevin and I started out together and we tried to lose as little time as possible. We did a very good job opening the track for most of the stage. I am very happy with the outcome of the day. We’ve finished this first week very well-positioned in the general standings and looking very solid. Now we can take advantage of the rest day, to recharge the batteries and to think about the second week.”
Aussie Michael Burgess finished 43rd, with countryman Joseph Houlihan 67th.
Toby Price leads the 2021 Dakar Rally at halfway mark
Toby Price has reclaimed the overall rankings lead with his seventh place finish and heading into the rest day which marks the midway point of the 2021 Dakar Rally. That includes a 2m16s lead to the next fastest rider in the provisional results.
That rider is Kevin Benavides, who dropped off in Stage Six, finishing 16th, but retaining second overall. Cornejo holds third, ahead of Branch and Soultrait who both sit 3m41s off the lead.
Sam Sunderland is sixth overall, ahead of Barreda, Santolino, Howes and Quintanilla, who complete the top-ten.
Australian Daniel Sanders had another strong result, improving his standing to 12th at the midway point, and trimming a couple of minutes off the gap to the lead. Countryman Michael Burgess finds himself in 38th, Joseph Houlihan now sits 61st overall.
Now riders get a day of rest, before returning on Sunday to race from Ha’il to Sakaka, covering 737 km in total, with 471 km of timed special.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage Six Results (Provisional)
|1||J. BARREDA BORT||ESP||HONDA||0:00:00|
|6||A. VAN BEVEREN||FRA||YAMAHA||0:03:33|
|11||JI. CORNEJO FLORIMO||CHL||HONDA||0:06:52|
|13||X. DE SOULTRAIT||FRA||HUSQVARNA||0:08:47|
|17||L. SANTOLINO||ESP||SHERCO FACTORY||0:11:52|
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Standings – After Stage Six (Provisional)
|3||JI. CORNEJO FLORIMO||CHL||HONDA||24:11:40||0:02:57|
|5||X. DE SOULTRAIT||FRA||HUSQVARNA||24:12:24||0:03:41|
|7||J. BARREDA BORT||ESP||HONDA||24:15:08||0:06:25|
|8||L. SANTOLINO||ESP||SHERCO FACTORY||24:22:29||0:13:46|
|15||A. VAN BEVEREN||FRA||YAMAHA||24:43:30||0:34:47|
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|