Dakar Rally 2021
Defending champion Ricky Brabec won Stage Seven yesterday, ahead of Jose Ignacio Cornejo and Skyler Howes, while Aussies Daniel Sanders and Toby Price finished in fifth and seventh respectively. That of course meant Brabec had the challenge of opening the stage in the second of the marathon legs that formed Stage Eight.
Toby Price entered Stage Eight in second overall, just a single second off the leader Cornejo, while Sanders had moved intoninth. Price had also shared footage of himself cable tying his rear tyre onto the rim, adding another dimension to the race.
Marking the second-half of the marathon stage, Stage Eight saw riders covering 709 km in total, with a 375 km timed special, setting off from Sakaka to Neom with a mix of sandy tracks and rocky pistes, with navigation set to be a challenge.
Ricky Brabec kicked off the stage, but it was Price fastest through the first checkpoint, with Joan Barreda also showing plenty of pace. By the 80 km checkpoint Barreda had moved into the lead, with Price 21s behind, with Cornejo holding onto third.
These three riders would prove fastest for most of the day, with Price moving into the lead at checkpoint 161. Cornejo also moved up to second, displacing Barreda, who dropped to third and eventually further down to eighth.
Sanders meanwhile was having a rough day, dropping to tenth by the second checkpoint and then 17th by the third. Seeming to catch his rythm he then fought his way back into the top ten, and reaching fifth in the last checkpoint for the day. He had a big crash that bent his front rim and left him with stitches in his face ahead of Monday’s Stage Eight.
Stage Nine Report
When Monday’s Stage Nine wrapped up it was José Ignacio Cornejo that had proved strongest, 1m05s faster than second placed Price, who managed to complete the stage despite riding the whole day with a damaged tyre cable-tied to his rim.
José Ignacio Cornejo
“Today I came second behind my partner and friend Ricky and it has tough to catch him up. He was opening very fast and I finally caught him and we opened the track at a very good pace. Congratulations to Ricky because he did very well. The idea was not to win, but it was very difficult to keep the other riders in check behind as they were very far from us. Now, I’ve got a bit of an advantage over the second-placed rider overall but the times are still very tight, so we have to continue with the same concentration. We will try to finish the job well, tomorrow we will try to open as cleanly as we can, and drop as little time as possible.”
“It’s been a really tough couple of days for me. I damaged my tyre yesterday and of course, not being allowed to change it, I had to repair it as best I could for today and hope it held up. I rode a good stage, but all the while I was trying to be as smooth as possible – not accelerate too hard in case the issue got worse. Second on the day is not bad at all, I lost a little more time to the rally leader, but I’m just glad I got to the finish line.”
Brabec finished third, for a second Honda in the top three, ahead of KTM’s Sam Sunderland.
“Today was the second part of the marathon. We did good today. We did good yesterday. We opened the whole stage. Nacho caught me around refuelling at kilometre 229. The second part of the special was 115 km. Nacho and I rode together and just worked it out with good team work. We went really fast. Yesterday we did well, but I was scared that we would have to open. We rode well today. I’m kicking myself in the head. I wish we’d had the speed and the focus last week. We are fighting and we are stronger now. There’s four days left. It’s the same part of the desert that helped me last year. Hopefully somewhere we can pull out time. There’s four days and a lot of things will change. Everyone has used tyres. Tyre cuts are going to be a factor. Bike fatigue. Rider fatigue. Everything is going to start playing in. The finish is really close. It’s not that close in kilometres. There’s four days left. Let’s try and keep the focus and push.”
“I’m just trying to take each day as it comes at the moment. My pace has been good over the two days of the marathon stage, but it’s certainly been tough. Riding about 1,600km on the same tires and wheels is pretty good going, although they are looking a little second hand now. The pace is so fast and at the same time you’re trying to look down at the road book and check your navigation – it’s not surprising you’re going to hit a rock now and again. I’m glad to get another day done and I’ll keep on doing my best and we’ll see where we are at the finish.”
Fifth and sixth were Kevin Benavides and Joan Barreda respectively, leaving the entire Monster Energy Honda team in the top six.
“In the second part of the marathon stage, I started from behind trying to look after the bike and finish well in these final stages. Yesterday, I had a very good stage, I was going to win but in the end I lost about 10 minutes which is why I came out pushing hard today. This stage was not to make much differences as it was a very fast stage. The truth is that I didn’t really enjoy these two marathon stages over very fast and broken-up terrain. Now, the important thing is that the bike is fine and tomorrow we have to continue more focused than ever to give it our best shot over the final four days.”
“The second part of the marathon stage was quite difficult. There were tracks with a lot of rocks and the truth is that it was dangerous. Yesterday, I took a strong blow to the front wheel and that is why today I decided to take care of things. At refuelling I realized that the gaps were small and I tried to keep a stable pace. I also saw Xavier De Soultrait fall and I lost my concentration there a little and I lost a bit of time over the next few kilometres. The result is not bad at all because tomorrow we start from further back, so we will try to make up some time.”
Suffering a nasty fall while cresting a dune on stage seven, Daniel Sanders required several stitches below his lip at the overnight bivouac. Although feeling tired and a little sore, Sanders impressed once again with a superb ride that took him to seventh place on the stage, while Matthias Walkner was eighth, marking the four KTM Factory Team riders inside the top eight.
“I struggled to focus a little today, I think I was a little tired from yesterday and the crash I had. Thankfully I didn’t have any major problems, I just tried to put in a solid ride through the stage. I’m glad I’m here at the finish near enough in one piece. Both me and the bike have certainly had a tough couple of days, but we’ll get fixed up now and look ahead to the rest of the race.”
“It’s been two really challenging days for me and the whole team, but on the whole we’ve come out of it quite strong. Yesterday Toby caught me, but then I could see he had some tire issues and I stayed with him to the finish. Today was difficult for me because I started quite far back and spent most of the day on my own. It’s always difficult to judge your own pace when you have no reference. It was a beautiful stage today though, I really enjoyed the landscapes and now I have a good start position for tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Skyler Howes ended the day in ninth, ahead of Sebastian Buhler. Ross Branch was top Yamaha in 11th, with teammate Adrian Van Beveren 13th. Between the two in 12th was Lorenzo Santolino.
“I’m happy to have completed the marathon stage as it’s been a tough couple of days. Today’s stage started off really rocky, so I was cautious through there but once the stage opened out I got into a good rhythm. Arriving here in Neom in one piece is good and we can now prepare the bike for tomorrow and I’m excited for the next stage.”
Adrien Van Beveren
“Nothing special today for me, just consistent riding and then in the second half of the stage I was able to push more and felt more like myself. It was important to complete the marathon stage without any issues which I did, so I’m happy. The bike is good and tomorrow’s stage looks like the terrain will be similar to the end of today’s stage, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Australians Michael Burgess and Joseph Houlihan finished 33rd and 61st respectively.
Price retains second overall after Stage Eight
Jose Ignacio Cornejo now holds the provisional overall standings lead, after Stage Eight, pulling a 1m06s gap on Toby Price who once against sits in second.
Price holds an almost five-minute gap to Sam Sunderland in third, with Kevin Benavides a more distant fourth, a further seven-minutes in arrears.
Completing the top five was Joan Barreda, with defending Dakar champion Ricky Brabec in sixth.
Skyler Howes took seventh, with Australian Daniel Sanders improving another position to eighth overall in the standings, now 22m40s off the lead.
Lorenzo Santolino and Luciano Benavides complete the top 10, as top Sherco and Husqvarna respectively, with Pablo Quintanilla in 11th.
Top Yamaha is Ross Branch in 13th, just 15s ahead of Adrien Van Beveren in 14th.
Aussie Michael Burgess now holds 35th in the standings, with Joseph Houlihan 57th.
Although relatively short at 579km, day nine at the 2021 Dakar Rally includes the second longest timed special of the event. With a gruelling 465km to be raced against the clock, riders will start on the shore close to Neom before covering a looped stage to the north of the city. Predominantly made up of power-sapping sandy tracks and stony pistes, and due to its length, the stage looks set to rank as one of the toughest of the event.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage Eight Results (Updated)
|1||JI. CORNEJO FLORIMO||CHL||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||00:00:00=|
|2||T. PRICE||AUS||RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||+00:01:05=|
|3||R. BRABEC||USA||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||+00:02:50=|
|4||S. SUNDERLAND||GBR||RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||+00:03:46=|
|5||K. BENAVIDES||ARG||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||+00:05:29▲|
|6||J. BARREDA BORT||ESP||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||+00:05:47▲|
|7||D. SANDERS||AUS||KTM FACTORY TEAM||+00:06:29▼|
|8||M. WALKNER||AUT||RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||+00:06:32▼|
|9||S. HOWES||USA||BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM||+00:06:53▼|
|10||S. BÜHLER||DEU||HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY||+00:07:58▼|
|11||R. BRANCH||BWA||MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM||+00:09:18▼|
|12||L. SANTOLINO||ESP||SHERCO FACTORY||+00:09:33▼|
|13||A. VAN BEVEREN||FRA||MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM||+00:12:48▲|
|14||S. SVITKO||SVK||SLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM||+00:12:50=|
|15||T. SCHAREINA||ESP||FN SPEED – KTM TEAM||+00:14:14▼|
|16||M. GIEMZA||POL||ORLEN TEAM||+00:16:03▼|
|17||M. MICHEK||CZE||ORION – MOTO RACING GROUP||+00:16:06▼|
|18||P. QUINTANILLA||CHL||ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING||+00:18:40▼|
|19||J. BETRIU||ESP||FN SPEED – KTM TEAM||+00:19:35▼|
|20||L. BENAVIDES||ARG||ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING||+00:21:48▲|
|33||M. BURGESS||AUS||BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM||+00:39:07▼|
|61||AJ. HOULIHAN||AUS||NOMADAS ADVENTURE||+01:53:58▲|
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Standings – After Stage Eight (Updated)
|1||JI. CORNEJO FLORIMO||CHL||HONDA||32:00:11||0:00:00|
|5||J. BARREDA BORT||ESP||HONDA||32:16:16||0:16:05|
|9||L. SANTOLINO||ESP||SHERCO FACTORY||32:27:10||0:26:59|
|14||A. VAN BEVEREN||FRA||YAMAHA||32:50:41||0:50:30|
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|