Dakar Rally 2021
Things are set to heat right up in the 2021 Dakar Rally, as riders enter the second week following a day of rest in Ha’il. Adding further pressure will be that at the conclusion of Stage Seven, riders will not be allowed any outside assistance upon reaching the bivouac in Sakaka. Keping their machine in working order will be totally on them.
Stage Seven itself covers 737 km, with the second longest timed special remaining of 471 km, with a route covering primarily mountain dunes and sand tracks.
Finishing the previous stage (Stage Six) on top were Joan Barreda, Ross Branch and Australian Daniel Sanders, however the overall standings told a different story.
Here Toby Price held the overall lead by 2m16s, followed by Kevin Benavides and Jose Ignacio Cornejo. Although Branch was fourth overall.
Aussie Toby Price will no doubt be aiming to stay at the pointy end, while maintaining consistency, with countryman Daniel Sanders currently sitting in 12th. Sanders has slowly been whittling his way towards the top 10 overall, and has already taken two top-three stage results in his first ever Dakar.
Kicking off Stage Seven was a Honda, a Yamaha and a KTM, with Barreda, Branch and Sanders the first riders to start, a position which hasn’t proven particularly lucky thus far.
Just 31 km into the stage Branch crashed, and while rider emerged unscathed, his machine was left requiring repairs. That would see Branch drop to 82nd by the first timed checkpoint.
Quickly moving into the lead was Price as the fastest rider to checkpoint one, with Sanders just 28s behind, with Xavier De Soultrait, Kevin Benavides and Luciano Benavides all in close contention.
By the mid-way checkpoint of the timed special (km 215), Price still retained his lead ahead of Brabec, Benavides, Soultrait and Sanders.
Shortly after Brabec grabbed the lead, pulling a 31s lead on Price as they passed the km 279 checkpoint, with Benavides charging hard.
80 km later, it was Benavides who moved into the lead, with Brabec now 40s behind and Price’s gap up to 1m29s.
Unfortunately Benavides seemed to run out of steam with just 50 km to go, suddenly dropping 10 minutes off the leaders.
Fastest across the finish line for the stage was Ricky Brabec, having dominated most of the day, within the top three. Cornejo meanwhile put on a late charge to move into second, trailing by 2m07s, with Skyler Howes in third a further 12s in arrears.
Sam Sunderland came home in fourth, with Daniel Sanders the top Australian for the stage in an impressive fifth place, just 3m14s off the pace.
Toby Price had to settle for seventh as the day came to a close, having led for most of the day. Whether that’s a tactical measure to ensure he’s not leading Stage Eight remains to be seen, with stage openers faring poorly.
Completing the top ten for the day was Luciano Benavides, Joaquim Rodrigues and Franco Caimi.
We’re still waiting to see where Aussies Michael Burgess and Joseph Houlihan land for Stage Seven with most of the field yet to finish, and results provisional as a result.
Cornejo claims the Dakar lead by 1s over Price
The provisional overall standings now reveal Jose Ignacio Cornejo in the lead, with a strong Stage Seven result pushing him just one-second clear of Toby Price.
In third sits Sam Sunderland 2m10s off Price, while Xavier De Soultrait was fourth and Kevin Benavides, who turned 31 yesterday, fifth.
Joan Barreda was just outside the top-five in sixth, followed by Skyler Howes and defending champion Ricky Brabec, who sits 14m52s off the leaders.
Australian Daniel Sanders also moved into the top-ten overall, and how holds ninth, while Luciano Benavides completes that top-ten. Just outside the top-ten in 11th was Sherco’s Lorenzo Santolino.
Pablo Quintanilla sits 12th, before a sizeable gap to Stefan Svitko (+34m52s), while top Yamaha riders are Adrian Van Beveren and Ross Branch in 14th and 15th respectively.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage Seven Results (Provisional)
|1||R. BRABEC||USA||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||00:00:00=|
|2||JI. CORNEJO FLORIMO||CHL||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||+00:02:07▲|
|3||S. HOWES||USA||BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM||+00:02:19▲|
|4||S. SUNDERLAND||GBR||RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||+00:02:52=|
|5||D. SANDERS||AUS||KTM FACTORY TEAM||+00:03:14▲|
|6||X. DE SOULTRAIT||FRA||HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING||+00:03:57▼|
|7||T. PRICE||AUS||RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||+00:05:05▲|
|8||L. BENAVIDES||ARG||ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING||+00:05:49▼|
|9||J. RODRIGUES||PRT||HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY||+00:05:55▲|
|10||F. CAIMI||ARG||MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM||+00:06:46▼|
|11||A. VAN BEVEREN||FRA||MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM||+00:07:59▲|
|12||M. MICHEK||CZE||ORION – MOTO RACING GROUP||+00:08:35▲|
|13||L. SANTOLINO||ESP||SHERCO FACTORY||+00:08:44▼|
|14||J. BARREDA BORT||ESP||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||+00:08:57▲|
|15||P. QUINTANILLA||CHL||ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING||+00:09:52▼|
|16||K. BENAVIDES||ARG||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||+00:10:17▲|
|17||M. WALKNER||AUT||RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||+00:11:06▼|
|18||S. SVITKO||SVK||SLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM||+00:14:26=|
|19||J. BETRIU||ESP||FN SPEED – KTM TEAM||+00:18:23=|
|20||T. SCHAREINA||ESP||FN SPEED – KTM TEAM||+00:20:38=|
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Standings – After Stage Seven (Provisional)
|1||JI. CORNEJO FLORIMO||CHL||HONDA||28:51:31||0:00:00|
|4||X. DE SOULTRAIT||FRA||HUSQVARNA||28:54:05||+0:02:34|
|6||J. BARREDA BORT||ESP||HONDA||29:01:49||+0:10:18|
|14||A. VAN BEVEREN||FRA||YAMAHA||29:29:13||+0:37:42|
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|