After the first six gruelling days of the 2020 Dakar Rally, riders have enjoyed a day of rest to mark the mid-way point in Riyadh, with Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda Team) leading the combined standings with a 20min-56s lead over Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna Factory Rally Team), with Toby Price (KTM Factory Racing Team) the leading KTM mounted rider.
Toby Price notably had the tyre come off his rear wheel in Stage Six, receiving assistance from Andrew Short to get moving, which saw him outside the top ten, and drop to third overall.
Jose Cornego and Joan Barreda of the Monster Energy Honda Team completed the top five, giving Honda three of the top five riders at the mid-way point, while Matthias Walkner and Luciano Benavides represented KTM in sixth and seventh.
KTM mounted Skyler Howes and Stefan Svitko are running eighth and ninth, while top ranked Yamaha rider is Franco Caimi with the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team.
Aussie Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha Motor Australia) has also been putting in a strong effort sitting just outside the top-10 in 13th place after Stage Six, with Ben Young currently sitting 66th, Trevor Wilson 88th, and Matthew Tisdall 108th. New Zealand’s Phillip Wilson also currently ranks 63rd.
Stage Seven onwards
After a well-earned rest day, competitors now leave Riyadh for the final week of racing, and Stage Seven incorporates the longest special of the 2020 Dakar Rally, sure to be a hugely challenging return to competition. Heading south-west, racers will need to rely on their navigational skills to tackle the scattered dunes.
Looping back to Wadi Al-Dawasir, Stage Eight takes place in the south of Saudi Arabia. Unique to this stage is a 40-kilometre straight line, which will be a huge contrast to the mountain ranges riders will encounter on the same day.
With the end of the event drawing ever nearer, Stage Nine will be the longest of the 2020 Dakar Rally. Totalling 886 kilometres, riders will venture north-east to Haradh where they’ll be faced with hard and rough terrain. Cautious riding will be the name of the game in order to reach the finish ahead of Stage 10 and the event’s second marathon stage.
The second marathon begins with riders encountering 30 kilometres of rolling sand dunes, testing their endurance and ability to navigate. Adjoining with Stage 11, competitors will need to conserve their bikes as no mechanical assistance is permitted at the end of the stage.
Saudi Arabia’s finest dunes welcome competitors during the initial 80 kilometres of the 744-kilometre Stage 11. Riders will also be mindful of reaching the end of this penultimate leg of the event safely and successfully completing the second part of the marathon.
Friday, January 17 marks the end of the 2020 Dakar Rally, with a 447-kilometre stage from Haradh to Qiddiya.
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