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Eazi Grip

Dakar Rally Stage Reports

Dakar 2022, Stage 1: Sanders stretches lead over Quintanilla

GasGas rider Daniel Sanders extended his advantage in the first full stage of the Dakar Rally on Sunday, as KTM’s Matthias Walkner jumped up two places to move into third behind Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla.

Having won the 19km Prologue on Saturday, Sanders elected to start the first stage in Ha’il from 15th place, minimising the risk of getting lost in the desert without the tracks left behind by other riders.

The strategy immediately paid dividends as he carved up a small 21-second lead at the first waypoint, before more than doubling his advantage to 46 seconds at the 160km mark.

Quintanilla managed to close the gap back down to 18s in the next 40km, but the Australian rider put the hammer down in the final part of the day, winning the 333km stage by an impressive margin of 2m07s.

This gives the 27-year-old a healthy 3m07s advantage heading into the second stage of the rally-raid from Hail to Al Artawiya on Monday.

Honda rider Quintanilla wasn’t always Sanders’ closest challenger in the opening stage, dropping as low as fourth in the early sections of the stage, but he mounted a strong comeback to retain second place in the overall standings.

2018 Dakar winner Walkner gained two places on Sunday to grab third place in the general classifications, but the Austrian lost over eight minutes over the course of the day and now trails Sanders by 11m06s.

Rookie Mason Klein finished an impressive fourth on the BAS KTM, just 14 seconds off the pace of Walkner, with Lorenzo Santolino putting on an equally strong performance on the Sherco TVS to clinch fifth.

Adrien van Beveren was Yamaha’s top representative in sixth at the end of the stage, but holds fourth place in the overall standings ahead of Mason, KTM’s Sam Sunderland – who was only eighth-quickest on Sunday – and Santolino.

Husqvarna’s Xavier de Soultrait, Yamaha rider Ross Branch and teammate Skyler Howes rounded out the top 10 in the general classifications.

Replacing the injured Franco Caimi at Hero MotoSports, Aaron Mare ended the day a fine 11th in the overall standings, edging out the Slovnaft KTM of Stefan Svitko.

After finishing the Prologue down in 23rd, MotoGP convert Danilo Petrucci enjoyed a much more fruitful day aboard the Tech 3 KTM bike, finishing 33m down on Sanders in 13th place.

This leaves him 12th in the overall rankings, three places ahead of reigning champion Kevin Benavides and his factory KTM.

Benavides, who stood fourth after the Prologue on Saturday, dropped 36 minutes to overall pacesetter Sanders and now faces an uphill climb to defend the title he won with Honda last year.

Another KTM rider to endure a torrid day was two-time champion Toby Price, who now sits the best part of an hour behind the frontrunners in 22nd place.

Overall standings after Stage 1:

Pos. # Rider Marque/bike Time Gap
1 4 SANDERS DANIEL GasGas 04:38:40
2 7 QUINTANILLA PABLO HONDA 04:41:47 +00:03:07
3 52 WALKNER MATTHIAS KTM 04:49:46 +00:11:06
4 42 VAN BEVEREN ADRIEN YAMAHA 04:51:26 +00:12:46
5 43 KLEIN MASON BAS KTM 04:53:14 +00:14:34
6 3 SUNDERLAND SAM GasGas 04:54:36 +00:15:56
7 15 SANTOLINO LORENZO SHERCO 04:55:34 +00:16:54
8 12 DE SOULTRAIT XAVIER HUSQVARNA 04:57:16 +00:18:36
9 16 BRANCH ROSS YAMAHA 04:58:01 +00:19:21
10 5 HOWES SKYLER HUSQVARNA 05:03:52

 

Dakar 2022, Stage 2: Barreda wins, Sunderland takes overall lead

Honda rider Joan Barreda claimed victory in the second stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally on Monday, as GasGas rival Sam Sunderland finished second to move into the overall lead.

With overnight leader Daniel Sanders (GasGas) losing time to his rivals after opening the road and then conceding further ground with a costly navigational error, the bikes category was blown wide open in the 338km special between Ha’il and Al Qaisumah.

Spanish veteran Barreda took full advantage of Sanders’ trouble, scoring his 28th Dakar stage win to thrust himself inside the top 10 in the general classifications after a difficult start to the rally on Saturday.

Having stood only 17th overall and 40 minutes down on Sanders heading into the stage, Barreda was quick from the get go on his Honda CRF 450 Rally bike, running second behind Sherco’s Rui Goncalves before grabbing the lead at the fourth waypoint.

He continued to pull away from his rivals thereafter, eventually winning the stage by a comprehensive margin of 5m33s from Sunderland.

2017 Dakar winner Sunderland had endured his own fair share of troubles in the opening two days of the rally, but with Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla also hitting trouble on Monday, his second-best time was quick enough to propel him to the top of the overall ranking.

Sunderland’s teammates Kevin Benavides and Toby Price finished the second stage in third and fifth position, separated by Skyler Howles on the Husqvarna, rounding off a strong day for the Austrian manufacturer.

Joaquim Rodrigues was an impressive sixth for Hero, just over 10 minutes down on Barreda, with Stefan Svitoko (Slovnaft KTM) closely following him in seventh.

Adrien van Beveren led his Yamaha teammate Andrew Short in eighth, while the top 10 was rounded out by Aaron Mare on the Hero bike.

Further back, Sanders was provisionally classified in 22nd place after losing nearly 25 minutes to Barreda, with Quintanilla finishing three positions behind in 25th.

In the overall standings, Sunderland holds a narrow 2m51s lead over the Yamaha of van Beveren, with Sanders amazingly holding on to third place thanks to the buffer he built in Sunday’s opening stage.

Matthias Walkner is the lead KTM rider in fourth despite finishing only 14th on Monday, with Howes and Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) next up in fifth and sixth respectively.

Quintanilla slipped from second to seventh after dropping half an hour to the leaders, as Svitko and Mare ended up eighth and ninth respectively.

Barreda completed the top 10 but faces a 20m25s deficit to overall leader Sunderland with 10 stages still to run.

Drama for Petrucci

After an impressive run to 13th in Sunday’s first stage near Ha’il, MotoGP race winner Danilo Petrucci’s hopes of a competitive finish on his Dakar debut were dashed with mechanical problems in Stage 2.

Unable to fix his Tech 3-branded KTM after stopping at the 115km mark, Petrucci requested the organisers to airlift him to the bivouac, marking him as an official retirement.

However, thanks to a new rule introduced in Dakar this year, the Italian will be able to resume the rally on Tuesday to continue his transition from circuit racing.

Overall standings after Stage 2:

Pos. #. Name Marque Time Gap
1 3 Sam Sunderland GasGas 08:31:29
2 42 Adrien van Beveren YAMAHA 08:34:20 +00:02:51
3 4 Daniel Sanders GasGas 08:34:58 +00:03:29
4 52 Matthias Walkner KTM 08:35:37 +00:04:08
5 5 Skyler Howes HUSQVARNA 08:41:28 +00:09:59
6 15 Lorenzo Santolino SHERCO FACTORY 08:42:24 +00:10:55
7 7 Pablo Quintanllia HONDA 08:44:00 +00:12:31
8 142 Stefan Svitko Slovnaft KTM 08:49:08 +00:17:39
9 6 Aaron Mare HERO  08:50:10 +00:18:41
10 88 Joan Barreda HONDA 08:51:54 +00:20:25

 

Dakar 2022, Stage 3: Rodrigues wins, Sunderland still leads

Hero MotoSports rider Joaquim Rodrigues scored his first-ever Dakar Rally stage victory on Tuesday, while GasGas man Sam Sunderland held on to the overall lead.

It was Daniel Sanders who led the majority of the rain-shortened 255km Stage 3 near Al Qaisumah, recovering from a difficult outing on Monday that had dropped him from first to third in the general classification.

The GasGas rider pulled out a lead of just over a minute over the chasing pack led by Rodrigues at the first waypoint and was able to hold on to that advantage until the penultimate checkpoint.

However, the Australian dropped nearly four minutes to the frontrunners in the final 35km stretch until the finishing line, allowing Rodrigues to come through and clinch the stage win.

It marked the maiden victory in a stage for the Portuguese rider in five Dakar starts – as well as the first for Indian manufacturer Hero.

Two-time Dakar champion Toby Price enjoyed his best stage finish so far in 2022, ending up 1m03s behind Rodrigues in second position on the factory KTM.

This year’s star rookie Mason Klein put on another impressive performance on the BAS KTM, the 20-year-old finishing just 1m14s off the pace in third and one position ahead of the top Husqvarna bike of Skyler Howes.

Sanders was eventually classified fifth, 2m55s shy of Rodrigues’ time, but he did beat the top Yamaha of Andrew Short as well as the leading Honda entry of 2020 champion Ricky Brabec.

Kevin Benavides (KTM) and Adrien van Beveren (Yamaha) were eighth and ninth respectively, while 2018 winner Matthias Walkner competed the top 10 for KTM.

After winning Monday’s Stage 2 to bring himself back into overall contention, Honda’s Joan Barreda slipped back down the order with the 24th fastest-time, losing over 10 minutes to the leaders.

His GasGas rival Sunderland fared marginally better, losing 7m30s en route to 17th place, but he continues to remain atop the overall leaderboard by just four seconds from Yamaha’s van Beveren.

Walkner is now third in the general classification, just 1m30s behind his former KTM teammate Sunderland, with Sanders slipping to fifth in the ranking behind Howes.

Sherco’s top runner Lorenzo Santolino holds sixth despite a relatively mediocre run to 20th in Stage 3, leading the top Honda of Pablo Quintanilla and the KTMs of Benavides and Stefan Svitko.

Despite Rodrigues’ victory, it is his teammate Aaron Mare who is Hero’s highest-placed rider in the standings, currently holding on to 10th place from Yamaha’s Ross Branch.

Petrucci returns

Following his retirement on Monday, MotoGP race winner Danilo Petrucci was able to return to Stage 3 as part of a new rule introduced to the Dakar Rally this year.

Riding in the colours of Tech 3 KTM, the Italian rider set the 22nd quickest time of the day, beating the likes of Barreda (24th) and Quintanilla (26th).

Overall standings after Stage 3:

Pos. # Name Make Time Gap Penalty
1 3 Sam Sunderland GasGas 11:13:40 00:00:00
2 42 Adrien van Beveren Yamaha 11:13:44 +00:00:04 00:00:00
3 52 Matthias Walkner KTM 11:15:10 +00:01:30 00:00:00
4 5 Skyler Howes Husqvarna 11:17:35 +00:03:55 00:00:00
5 4 Daniel Sanders GasGas 11:22:34 +00:08:54 00:10:00
6 15 Lorenzo Santolino Sherco 11:25:27 +00:11:47 00:00:00
7 7 Pablo Quintanilla Honda 11:30:31 +00:16:51 00:00:00
8 1 Kevin Benavides KTM 11:31:25 +00:17:45 00:00:00
9 142 Stefan Svitkko Slovnaft KTM 11:31:34 +00:17:54 00:00:00
10 6 Aaron Mare Hero 11:32:21 +00:18:41 00:00:00

 

Dakar 2022, Stage 4: Barreda wins again as Petrucci stars

Honda rider Joan Barreda became the first repeat stage winner of the 2022 Dakar Rally on Wednesday, while Danilo Petrucci put on a starring performance to finish third.

In what was the longest stage of Dakar 2022 with a 464km special located between Al Qaisumah and Riyadh, two-time MotoGP race winner Petrucci set the early pace on the KTM as he led the pack until the first three waypoints.

Barreda surged ahead at the next neutralisation mark and, although Petrucci was able to keep up with his pace initially, the Spanish rider was soon able to build a significant advantage out front.

With the challenge from Petrucci subsiding, Barreda cruised to a 29th career stage win in Dakar, taking the top honours by 4m37s.

Pablo Quintanilla made it a 1-2 for defending champions Honda, the Chilean rider moving clear of Petrucci at the penultimate waypoint and eventually finishing just over two minutes clear of the 31-year-old.

The Sherco TVS team enjoyed its strongest outing in Dakar so far, with sophomore year rider Rui Goncalves finishing eight minutes down on Barreda in fourth and teammate Lorenzo Santolino ending up right behind him in fifth.

Further back, Sam Sunderland set the seventh-quickest time of the day to hold on to his lead in the overall standings. However, his GasGas teammate Daniel Sanders endured a much trickier day, finishing over 18 minutes off the pace in 17th.

It was also a day of mixed fortunes for the factory KTM team with Matthias Walkner the only other rider apart from Petrucci to break inside the top 10.

The 2018 Dakar winner ended the day eighth-quickest, eight places ahead of new teammate Kevin Benavides, while Toby Price struggled to 30th on the other factory KTM 450 Rally bike.

Over at Yamaha, Adrien van Beveren led the charge for the Japanese manufacturer in 12th, while Andrew Short and Ross Branch were classified 14th and 15th respectively.

In the general classification, Sunderland now holds a three-minute lead over Walkner, with van Beveren dropping to third on the lead Yamaha.

Sanders moves up to fourth place after stewards cancelled a 10-minute Stage 2 penalty following a protest by his GasGas team.

Santolino now sits fifth overall, while Quintanilla remains Honda’s top rider in sixth- 11m13s down on Sunderland.

A second stage win in three days has propelled Barreda to seventh in the standings, just 13 minutes off the top spot.

Overall standings after Stage 4:

Pos. #. Name Mark Time Gap Penalty
1 3 Sam Sunderland GASGAS 15:30:01 00:00:00
2 52 Matthias Walkner KTM 15:33:01 +00:03:00 00:00:00
3 42 Adrien van Beveren YAMAHA 15:34:55 +00:04:54 00:00:00
4 4 Daniel Sanders GASGAS 15:37:08 +00:07:07 00:00:00
5 15 Lorenzo Santolino SHERCO FACTORY 15:40:29 +00:10:28 00:00:00
6 7 Pablo Quintanilla HONDA 15:41:14 +00:11:13 00:00:00
7 88 Joan Barreda HONDA 15:43:13 +00:13:12 00:00:00
8 5 Skyler Howes HUSQVARNA 15:45:17 +00:15:16 00:00:00
9 142 Stefan Svitko KTM 15:50:43 +00:20:42 00:00:00
10 1 Kevin Benavides KTM 15:55:13 +00:25:12 00:00:00

 

Dakar 2022, Stage 5: Price beats Petrucci to victory

Two-time Dakar Rally champion Toby Price earned his first stage win of the 2022 edition on Thursday, leading home fellow KTM rider and ex-MotoGP racer Danilo Petrucci.

After a tough day on Wednesday, Price was among the leaders throughout the stage, a 346km loop around the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, but only took the lead at the penultimate waypoint.

Leading most of the stage was GasGas rider Daniel Sanders, who led Honda’s Kevin Benavides by around two minutes before dropping 12m41s at the 311km mark.

With defending champion Benavides also losing ground, that opened the door for Price to notch up his 14th career stage win by a margin of 2m04s.

Dakar debutant Petrucci continued his impressive run of performances by finishing runner-up to Price, going one place better than he managed on Wednesday, but his retirement from Stage 2 means the Italian is not in contention for overall honours.

Overnight leader Sam Sunderland was 13th on the stage, dropping some 12 minutes to Price, but the GasGas rider remains at the head of the general classification with a reduced margin of 2m29s over another KTM rider, Mathias Walkner.

Adrien van Beveren remains third for Yamaha, just under six minutes off the lead, with Sanders holding fourth despite his late time loss.

The big mover on the overall leaderboard was American Skyler Howes, who jumped to fifth on the best of the Husqvarna machines, followed by Sherco’s Lorenzo Santolino and Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla.

Third on the stage behind Price and Petrucci has enabled Ross Branch to move up to eighth on the second Yamaha, with Benavides and KTM privateer Stefan Svitko completing the top 10.

Wednesday stage winner Joan Barreda conceded 21 minutes on the stage to drop to 11th overall, 23 minutes behind the leaders, while Price sits 12th with a deficit of just over 31 minutes to Sunderland.

Standings after Stage 5:

Pos. # Name Bike Time Gap Penalty
1 3 Sam Sunderland KTM 19:01:50 00:00:00
2 52 Matthias Walkner KTM 19:04:19 +00:02:29 00:00:00
3 42 Adrien van Beveren YAMAHA 19:07:49 +00:05:59 00:00:00
4 4 Daniel Sanders KTM 19:09:51 +00:08:01 00:00:00
5 5 Skyler Howes HUSQVARNA 19:15:26 +00:13:36 00:00:00
6 15 Lorenzo Santalino SHERCO FACTORY 19:17:17 +00:15:27 00:00:00
7 7 Pablo Quintanilla HONDA 19:18:45 +00:16:55 00:00:00
8 16 Ross Branch YAMAHA 19:20:05 +00:18:15 00:00:00
9 1 Kevin Benavides KTM 19:23:41 +00:21:51 00:00:00
10 142 Stefan Svitko KTM 19:24:40 +00:22:50 00:00:00

 

UPDATE: Toby Price suffers speeding penalty and hands stage 5 victory to Danilo Petrucci

Dakar 2022, Stage 6: Stage 6 is cut short due to dangerous riding conditions

For safety reasons, the organization neutralized the sixth stage after 101 kilometers. The conditions on the route had deteriorated considerably due to the passage of the cars and trucks the day before, combined with bad weather. Therefore, the timings after 101 kilometers are used as the final result.

Daniel Sanders has won the stage. The Australian also won the first stage. Sam Sunderland follows in second place, with Matthias Walkner third. The complete top ten of the motorcycles is as follows:

1. Daniel Sanders 51:43
2. Sam Sunderland +02:26
3. Matthias Walkner +02:36
4. Pablo Quintanilla +03:15
5. Ricky Brabec +03:19
6. Mason Klein +03:33
7. Stefan Svitko +04:05
8. Adrien van Beveren +04:10
9. Toby Price +04:16
10. Joaquim Rodrigues +04:29

Dakar 2022, Stage 6: Sanders wins, Sunderland leads into rest day

Daniel Sanders picked up his second full-length stage win of the 2022 Dakar Rally on Friday as his GasGas teammate Sam Sunderland finished second to maintain a small lead heading into Saturday’s rest day.

Australian rider Sanders was declared the winner of Stage 6 as the day’s 421km loop around Riyadh was cut short at the first neutralised zone after 101km.

That was due to safety concerns regarding the degradation of the terrain, which had been used by the cars and trucks competitors on Thursday and further worsened by heavy rain.

Sanders led at each waypoint to finish 2m26s up on Sunderland, who in turn finished just 10 seconds ahead of his nearest rival in the general classification, KTM’s Matthias Walkner.

It means Sunderland takes a lead of 2m39s over Walkner into the rest day, with Sanders moving up to third place, just 5m35s back from his teammate.

Third overnight, Adrian van Beveren slipped a place in the overall rankings after finishing eighth on the stage, 4m10s down on Sanders.

Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla completes the top five, surpassing Sherco rider Lorenzo Santolino with the fourth-best time on the stage.

KTM’s reigning champion Kevin Benavides goes into the rest day eighth, behind privateer Stefan Svitko, while Joan Barreda sits ninth, having elected to continue in the rally despite hurting his shoulder in a crash on Thursday.

There was drama for Yamaha’s Ross Branch, who started the stage seventh overall but had to be transported by road to the bivouac for medical treatment following an early crash.

Likewise suffering an incident early on was Thursday’s stage winner Danilo Petrucci (KTM), but the ex-MotoGP racer was able to continue and finish 40th, 12m44s off the pace.

Fellow KTM man Toby Price, who lost Thursday’s stage win due to a speeding penalty, was ninth on Friday and heads into the rest day 12th overall, while 2020 champion Ricky Brabec (Honda) lies 15th.

Standings after Stage 6:

Pos. # Name Bike Time Gap Penalty
1 3 Sam Sunderland KTM 19:55:59 00:00:00
2 52 Matthias Walkner KTM 19:58:38 +00:02:39 00:00:00
3 4 Daniel Sanders KTM 20:01:34 +00:05:35 00:00:00
4 42 Adrien van Beveren YAMAHA 20:03:42 +00:07:43 00:00:00
5 7 Pablo Quintanilla HONDA 20:13:43 +00:17:44 00:00:00
6 15 Lorenzo Santolino SHERCO FACTORY 20:14:21 +00:18:22 00:00:00
7 142 Stefan Svitko KTM 20:20:28 +00:24:29 00:00:00
8 1 Kevin Benavides KTM 20:20:55 +00:24:56 00:00:00
9 88 Joan Barreda HONDA 20:21:58 +00:25:59 00:01:00
10 43 Mason Klein KTM 20:33:07 +00:37:08 00:00:00

 

Dakar 2022, Stage 7: Van Beveren takes overall lead, Cornejo wins

With many of the leading riders struggling on Sunday’s 402km Riyadh-Al Dawadimi test, van Beveren was able to leapfrog from the fourth position he held at the rest day into the top spot.

The French rider gained a position even before the start as GasGas rider Daniel Sanderscrashed out during the liaison section before the timed special, while the Australian’s teammate Sunderland and his nearest rival, KTM’s Matthias Walkner, both lost in excess of 20 minutes.

Van Beveren didn’t have the smoothest of runs either, dropping 11 minutes and 22 seconds in relation to the Honda of Cornejo – who took his first stage win of the Dakar and the third of his career.

But the time he gained on Sunderland and Walkner has put the Yamaha man in command of the leaderboard with five stages remaining, 5m12s ahead of Walkner.

Eighth at the rest day, reigning champion Kevin Benavides (KTM) proved to be Cornejo’s nearest challenger on the stage, finishing just 44 seconds in arrears of the Chilean rider.

It means Benavides has jumped to third overall, 5m23s behind van Beveren, while Sunderland – GasGas’s sole representative after Sanders’ exit – is now fourth, 5m38s off the lead.

Sherco man Lorenzo Santolino gained one position to sit fifth overall, moving ahead of top Honda man Pablo Quintanilla in sixth place.

Despite nursing a shoulder injury from a crash on Stage 5, Honda’s Joan Barreda was third-fastest on the stage to move up to seventh overall ahead of KTM privateer Stefan Svitko, Cornejo and the second Yamaha of Andrew Short.

Just behind in 11th is KTM’s Toby Price, just under 30 minutes away from the lead, while Honda’s Ricky Brabec gained time on the leaders and sits 14th overall, 38 minutes adrift of van Beveren.

Standings after Stage 7:

Pos. # Name Bike Time Gap Penalty
1 42 Adrien van Beveren YAMAHA 23:45:02 00:00:00
2 52 Matthias Walkner KTM 23:50:14 +00:05:12 00:00:00
3 1 Kevin Benavides KTM 23:50:25 +00:05:23 00:00:00
4 3 Sam Sunderland KTM 23:50:40 +00:05:38 00:00:00
5 15 Lorenzo Santolino SHERCO FACTORY 23:51:36 +00:06:34 00:00:00
6 7 Pablo Quintanilla HONDA 23:53:17 +00:08:15 00:00:00
7 88 Joan Barreda HONDA 23:53:35 +00:08:33 00:01:00
8 142 Stefan Svitko KTM 24:05:20 +00:20:18 00:00:00
9 11 Jose Ignacio Cornejo HONDA 24:11:39 +00:26:37 00:00:00
10 29 Andrew Short YAMAHA 24:13:12 +00:28:10 00:00:00

 

Sunderland frustrated to lose 26 minutes on “casino” stage

Long-time Dakar Rally leader Sam Sunderland admits he found it “frustrating” to lose almost 26 minutes on a stage he labelled as a “casino” in terms of navigation.

GasGas rider Sunderland initially took the lead of the Saudi Arabian event on Stage 2, and maintained a slim advantage of two minutes, 39 seconds at the head of the table into Saturday’s rest day.

However, the Briton’s hopes of adding a second Dakar victory to his 2017 triumph took a blow on Sunday’s 402km Riyadh-Al Dawadimi test, as navigational problems left him 25m55s behind the day’s winner Jose Ignacio Cornejo.

It means Sunderland has slipped to fourth overall, albeit only 5m38s down on new leader Adrien van Beveren as his previous closest rival, Matthias Walkner, also suffered a difficult day.

Sunderland’s job was made even harder by acrash for his GasGas teammate Daniel Sanders on the liaison section prior to the stage, leaving him with the unenviable task of opening the road.

“It was a bit of a rough day,” said Sunderland. “It started out bad for Sanders with a crash in the liaison and then the stage was really, really difficult with the navigation, so not ideal to start in front.

“Where the rains have passed through after the 00 car, so many of the tracks are washed away, so it’s a bit of a casino. You just flip a coin and hope it’s that one. Honestly, it’s a bit frustrating, but at the same time I’m sure the next days will be the same for the other guys.

“Even yesterday, when people were asking if I was excited about leading the race, of course, it’s cool, but it means nothing on the rest day. We still have so many long days in front of us and I’m sure there’ll be some more opportunities to attack, to recuperate some time.

“I’m happy for [van Beveren], but at the same time, he’ll have to open tomorrow, so he’ll have the same job. This is a race and why it’s interesting.”

Yamaha rider van Beveren finished 10th on the stage, losing some 12m34s to Cornejo, but now has a 5m12s advantage over KTM’s Walkner in the general classification with five stages to run.

“I tried to attack wherever I could, but it was a tricky special from the point of view of navigation,” said the new overall leader. “I knew it could pay off handsomely, so I gave it my all. It worked out.

“I’ll do my best to defend my lead, but without going crazy. My goal is to make it to the finish line. I’ve been saying it from the beginning and that hasn’t changed. I’ll draw upon my experience and stick to the original plan.

“It’s still far from over, and I intend to push hard until the end. If it all falls into place, it will be fantastic.”

Dakar 2022, Stage 8: Sunderland retakes lead with victory

GasGas rider Sam Sunderland retook the overall lead in the Dakar Rally’s bikes competition on Monday as he picked up a first stage win of the event.

Sunderland, who led almost all of the first week of the Saudi Arabian event, had lost the advantage as the rally resumed after rest day on Sunday, ashe lost almost 26 minutes to the leaders on what he described as a “casino” stage in terms of navigation.

However, the Briton struck back on Monday’s 395km Al Dawadimi-Wadi Ad Dawasir test, leading at every single waypoint to win the stage by two minutes, 53 seconds and vault himself from fourth to first in the general classification.

Overnight leader Adrien van Beveren by contrast endured a tougher day as the second rider on the road, but the Yamaha man limited his time loss to Sunderland to 10m21s, finishing ninth.

It means the Frenchman has slipped to third overall, 4m43s behind Sunderland and just under a minute behind KTM’s Matthias Walkner, who held on to second with the third-best stage time.

Just a further 47 seconds behind van Beveren in fourth is Pablo Quintanilla, who ended up as Sunderland’s nearest challenger on a strong day for the Honda contingent.

The Chilean rider moved up two places from sixth overnight, while making a similar jump to fifth was his teammate Joan Barreda, who sits 14m38s behind Sunderland.

KTM’s reigning champion Kevin Benavides had a stage to forget as he shipped some 15 minutes to Sunderland, sliding from third overnight to sixth overall behind Barreda.

Likewise having a day to forget were Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco), who has slipped from fifth to seventh, and Stage 7 winner Jose Ignacio Cornejo, who dropped from ninth to 12th after opening the road.

Toby Price (KTM) was sixth-fastest and has now re-entered the top 10 overall in ninth, 32 minutes off the lead, while Ricky Brabec (Honda) moved up a place in the general classification to 13th.

Yamaha lost one of its factory contingent on Monday as Ross Branch withdrew from the rally. The Botswanan rider was suffering from bruising from a fall on Stage 6, prior to the rest day, and opted to remain at the bivouac in the morning.

Branch becomes the third factory retirement of the rally following Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) on Stage 5 and Daniel Sanders (GasGas) prior to Stage 6.

Standings after Stage 8:

Pos. #. Name Mark Time Gap Penalty
1 3 Sam Sunderland KTM 27:38:42 00:00:00
2 52 Matthias Walkner KTM 27:42:27 +00:03:45 00:00:00
3 42 Adrien van Beveren YAMAHA 27:43:25 +00:04:43 00:00:00
4 7 Pablo Quintanilla HONDA 27:44:12 +00:05:30 00:00:00
5 88 Joan Barreda HONDA 27:53:20 +00:14:38 00:01:00
6 1 Kevin Benavides KTM 27:53:29 +00:14:47 00:00:00
7 15 Lorenzo Santolino SHERCO FACTORY 27:59:51 +00:21:09 00:00:00
8 142 Stefan Svitko KTM 28:05:33 +00:26:51 00:00:00
9 18 Toby Price KTM 28:11:12 +00:32:30 00:06:00
10 43 Mason Klein KTM 28:14:08 +00:35:26 00:00:00

 

Dakar 2022, Stage 9: Cornejo wins, Walkner moves into lead

Honda rider Jose Ignacio Cornejo picked up his second stage victory of the 2022 Dakar Rally on Tuesday, as KTM’s Matthias Walkner capitalised on Sam Sunderland’s struggles to move into the overall lead.

The 287km test near Wadi Ad Dawasir was dominated by the factory Honda team, with Cornejo and 2020 winner Ricky Brabec trading the top spot throughout the day.

Cornejo held the early advantage after the first waypoint on 40km but was quickly leapfrogged by Brabec on the sister CRF 450 Rally bike. The 30-year-old went on to build a small buffer for himself until the fourth waypoint, but was powerless to prevent the Chilean rider from repassing him en route to a 1m26s victory in Stage 8.

Brabec eventually slipped to third in the day’s standings behind the leading KTM of Kevin Benavides, losing time in the final 86km run to the finish.

2018 Dakar winner Walkner was never in contention for a podium finish but ended up just 2m06s off the top spot in fourth, grabbing the overall lead in the process.

The Austrian rider took advantage of a difficult showing for overnight leader Sunderland, who finished more than eight minutes off the pace in 14th after opening the road on his GasGas bike.

The two riders are separated by 2m12s at the top of the standings with three stages still to run in the rally-raid before they reach the finish line in Jeddah on Friday.

Adrien van Beveren continues to hold third place overall on the Yamaha, while Pablo Quintanilla remains Honda’s top runner in fourth after finishing eighth in today’s stage.

Benavides and Honda’s Joan Barreda occupy fifth and sixth places respectively, ahead of Sherco rider Lorenzo Santolino.

Victory in Stage 9 has vaulted Cornejo to ninth place, while Andrew Short’s run to sixth has dropped KTM’s Toby Price outside the overall top 10.

Overall standings after Stage 9:

Pos. Name Mark Time Gap
1 Matthias Walkner KTM 30:14:03
2 Sam Sunderland GasGas 30:16:15 +00:02:12
3 Adrien van Beveren YAMAHA 30:17:59 +00:03:56
4 Pablo Quintanilla HONDA 30:18:44 +00:04:41
5 Kevin Benavides KTM 30:24:25 +00:10:22
6 Joan Barreda HONDA 30:25:00 +00:10:57
7 Lorenzo Santolino SHERCO FACTORY 30:40:57 +00:26:54
8 Stefan Svitko KTM 30:41:55 +00:27:52
9 Jose Ignacio Cornejo HONDA 30:46:33 +00:32:30
10 Andrew Short YAMAHA 30:49:02 +00:34:59

 

Dakar 2022, Stage 10: Van Beveren retakes lead as Price wins

Yamaha rider Adrien van Beveren has moved back into the lead of the 2022 Dakar Rally with two stages to run, as KTM’s Toby Price came out on top in Wednesday’s test.

Van Beveren started the day third overall, trailing leader Matthias Walkner by just under four minutes ahead of the day’s 375km run between Wadi Ad Dawasir and Bisha.

But with the fourth-fastest stage time, the Frenchman leapt into the spot for the second time in Saudi Arabia, and will take an advantage of four minutes and 15 seconds into the final two days.

Taking honours on Stage 10 was Price, who seized the advantage at the 258km mark to take his first win of the rally – and his second on the road after he lost his Stage 5 victory to a speeding penalty.

The Australian’s nearest rival was Luciano Benavides, who was 2m09s adrift on the sole remaining factory Husqvarna.

Honda’s Joan Barreda had commanded much of the stage but lost a chunk of time around the halfway mark, albeit recovering to finish third and a little over three minutes adrift of Price.

The Spaniard’s teammate Pablo Quintanilla by comparison could only manage 10th on the day, but has jumped up to second in the general classification behind van Beveren.

Behind the pair sits GasGas rider Sam Sunderland, who was only 19th-fastest on the stage but remains 5m59s off the lead.

Barreda is now fourth overall, 6m47s back, while overnight leader Walkner has slipped to fifth place after giving away just under 16 minutes on the stage, albeit only 8m24s behind van Beveren.

Price has gone from ninth overnight to sixth, also gaining from the retirement of KTM teammate Kevin Benavides, but faces a daunting 27-minute deficit with just two stages to go.

Honda’s Ricky Brabec has now entered the top 10 in ninth place, behind fellow Americans Andrew Short (Yamaha) and Mason Klein (KTM) but ahead of teammate Jose Ignacio Cornejo, who dropped 14 minutes opening the road.

Sherco rider Lorenzo Santolino was fifth on the stage, but a 15-minute penalty for an engine change awarded following Tuesday’s stage has left him down in 11th overall ahead of Stefan Svitko, who was given a similar punishment.

UPDATE: Honda pair Quintanilla and Barreda were both hit by penalties for speeding following the end of the stage, with the former losing two minutes and the latter losing four.

The effect on the general classification is that Quintanilla slips to third behind Sunderland, while Barreda drops to fifth and surrenders a position to Walkner.

Revised standings after Stage 10:

Pos. # Name Bike Time Gap Penalty
1 42 Adrien van Beveren YAMAHA 33:27:06 00:00:00
2 3 Sam Sunderland KTM 33:33:05 +00:05:59 00:00:00
3 7 Pablo Quintanilla HONDA 33:33:21 +00:06:15 00:02:00
4 52 Matthias Walkner KTM 33:35:30 +00:08:24 00:00:00
5 88 Joan Barreda HONDA 33:37:53 +00:10:47 00:05:00
6 18 Toby Price KTM 33:54:49 +00:27:43 00:06:00
7 29 Andrew Short YAMAHA 34:01:03 +00:33:57 00:00:00
8 43 Mason Klein KTM 34:04:55 +00:37:49 00:00:00
9 2 Ricky Brabec HONDA 34:05:11 +00:38:05 00:02:00
10 11 Jose Ignacio Cornejo HONDA 34:06:06 +00:39:00 00:00:00

 

Dakar 2022, Stage 11: Sunderland retakes lead ahead of final day

Sam Sunderland will lead the Dakar Rally’s bikes contest heading into the final day after narrowly missing out on winning the penultimate stage of the rally to Kevin Benavides.

Dubai-based Briton Sunderland has put himself in a strong position to clinch a second Dakar crown with a solid run on Thursday’s 346km loop around Bisha, as several of his main rivals in the general classification lost considerable ground due to navigational woes.

The GasGas rider led for most of the stage but dropped time following the penultimate waypoint to miss out on a second win of the rally by a mere four seconds to Benavides, who rejoined the event after his retirement on Wednesday.

Nonetheless, Sunderland will take a lead of 6m52s into Friday’s relatively short final stage from Bisha to Jeddah.

Yamaha’s Adrien van Beveren led Sunderland by almost six minutes overnight, but was fourth in the running order for Friday and suffered accordingly – along with the three riders starting ahead of him, Stage 10 winner Toby Price (KTM), Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) and Joan Barreda (Honda).

Van Beveren lost the least time of this group, but still haemorrhaged some 21 minutes to Sunderland.

The upshot is that the Frenchman has fallen to fourth overall, 15m30s off the lead, with Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) moving up to second and Matthias Walkner (KTM) gaining third, 7m15s down.

Quintanilla’s chances of giving Honda a third successive Dakar crown were given a minor boost when it was ruled that the speeding penalties handed down to both the Chilean and Barreda on Wednesday would be halved.

This gave Quintanilla back one minute of the two he had lost, but it didn’t affect his or Barreda’s position in the running order.

Barreda on the other hand looks to be all but out of contention as he sits fifth and almost 28 minutes behind Sunderland.

Fellow Honda riders Ricky Brabec and Jose Ignacio Cornejo now lie sixth and seventh, the pair both jumping clear of Yamaha’s Andrew Short and KTM privateer Mason Klein.

Price, despite dropping a massive 31 minutes on the stage, holds the final place in the top 10.

Standings after Stage 11:

Pos. # Name Bike Time Gap Penalty
1 3 Sam Sunderland KTM 37:04:05 00:00:00
2 7 Pablo Quintanilla HONDA 37:10:57 +00:06:52 00:01:00
3 52 Matthias Walkner KTM 37:11:20 +00:07:15 00:00:00
4 42 Adrien van Beveren YAMAHA 37:19:35 +00:15:30 00:00:00
5 88 Joan Barreda HONDA 37:31:59 +00:27:54 00:03:00
6 2 Ricky Brabec HONDA 37:41:29 +00:37:24 00:02:00
7 11 Jose Ignacio Cornejo HONDA 37:45:07 +00:41:02 00:00:00
8 29 Andrew Short YAMAHA 37:47:45 +00:43:40 00:00:00
9 43 Mason Klein KTM 37:55:14 +00:51:09 00:00:00
10 18 Toby Price KTM 37:56:32 +00:52:27 00:06:00

 

Dakar 2022: Sunderland hangs on to clinch second bikes crown

GasGas rider Sam Sunderland secured his second Dakar Rally bikes crown as he clung on to his slender advantage on Friday’s final stage of the Saudi Arabian event.

Sunderland went into the relatively short 164km run from Bisha to Jeddah of nearly seven minutes over his nearest rival, Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla.

Despite running second on the stage, Sunderland did enough to maintain his advantage to the finish, dropping just 3m25s to stage winner Quintanilla to beat the Chilean by 3m27s in the final standings.

It marks Sunderland’s second triumph on the Dakar, adding to his 2017 success, and a first in the event’s Saudi Arabian era for the KTM group – ending a run of two wins for Honda.

Matthias Walkner completed the overall podium for KTM behind Quintanilla, 7m43s down on Sunderland.

Dubai-based Briton Sunderland had controlled the 2022 edition of the Dakar most of the way, first seizing the advantage on Stage 2 and holding a small lead over the chasing pack into the rest day.

A difficult Stage 7 dropped Sunderland down the order, but he soon fought back to win Stage 8 and take back the top spot. He was briefly usurped by Adrien van Beveren after Stage 10, but a close second on the penultimate stage proved to be the decisive blow in the fight for overall honours.

Van Beveren, who slipped 15 minutes behind Sunderland on Stage 11, cemented fourth overall for Yamaha, while Joan Barreda rounded out the top five on the second of the factory Hondas.

Another Honda rider, Ricky Brabec, was sixth overall after missing out on the final stage win of the rally by just five seconds to Quintanilla, while Jose Ignacio Cornejo ensured all four of Honda’s works riders finished in the top seven.

The remainder of the top 10 likewise remained unchanged after Stage 11, with Andrew Short (Yamaha) taking eighth ahead of top rookie Mason Klein (KTM) and two-time event winner Toby Price (KTM).

Posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2022 in News

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