Energy Honda Team’s Ricky Brabec holds on to the overall leadership of
the 2020 Dakar Rally. The American is poised to tackle the final stage
which could be a historical one for the Honda squad. The
second leg of the marathon stage unfolded without setbacks for the
Monster Energy Honda Team. Today, in the penultimate special of the
rally, the pretenders to the podium got one second-to-last chance to
close the gap on the 2020 Dakar Rally race leader. Today’s stage,
featuring 100 kilometres of dunes at the beginning of the special,
favoured those in pursuit of the frontrunners and a group soon formed
including Joan Barreda, Ricky Brabec and Kevin Benavides, all of whom
made it to the final destination in Haradh without difficulties. Chilean
rider José Ignacio Cornejo finished fourth on the day, less than three
minutes behind his fellow-countryman Quintanilla, who took the spoils.
Cornejo now has the possibility of attacking tomorrow in the concluding
stage in a bid to be among the prize-winners. Ricky
Brabec holds on to the lead that he has held since day three. The
American managed well the advantage at the head of the general rankings,
in spite of having dropped 12 minutes to the day’s eventual winner and
now has everything in his favour in his bid for the outright Dakar Rally
2020 victory. Joan
Barreda opened the track after yesterday’s win and was followed by his
Monster Energy Honda squad-mates, Brabec and Benavides. The handicap
eventually led him to concede 14’48 to the stage winner. Barreda now
lies in fifth place overall but is by no means out of the running for a
final podium place in the race. The
final stage will be decided tomorrow between Haradh and Qiddiyah. A
374- kilometre special which will feature a 20-kilometre Qiddiya Trophy
GP, obligatory for the riders who finish on the final podium of this
edition of the Dakar, although the result will have no effect on the
final standings of the rally.
This is… Stage 12Link > 73 km – Special > 374 km – Total > 447 km Composure
will be a trusted ally on this final stage, where the positions at the
top of the classification can still change. The last hundred kilometres
will give the navigators just as many headaches as in the previous week.
But the finish line is not far! A 20 km special section, with no impact
on the general classification, will also select the winner of the
“Qiddiya Trophy”, immediately before climbing onto the final podium.
You can follow the race with live race results and news, by clicking here.
Kevin Benavides 7 STAGE: 9th OVERALL: 19th
Today I started
out in third position and attacked hard in the dunes that were very huge
but beautiful. I have felt very comfortable and I reached Ricky and
Joan. After refuelling we opened the track together. We have conceded
some time but it was a good stage for me. Tomorrow is the final day so
let’s go out there to enjoy ourselves.
Ricky Brabec 9 STAGE: 10th OVERALL: 1st
There’s one stage
left. The team is working well. I’m pretty excited. I can’t get my
hopes up right now. Stage 11 here in the dunes was pretty tough.
Starting up front due to the cancellation of the second part. So it was
really hard to judge the time. Tomorrow there is one stage left and I’m
in a good starting position. I’m confident to be focused and make it to
the finish line.
Joan Barreda 12 STAGE: 12th OVERALL: 5th
Today I expected
less sand but there really was a lot. At the beginning of the stage I
saw that it was soft with slow dunes so I figured that there would be
quite big differences in the times. In spite of that, I pushed hard over
the first kilometres and when I jumped a dune and took a very hard
knock and I suffered quite a pain in the wrist for the rest of the
special. A few kilometres before the refuelling, I was running low on
fuel so I slowed down quite a bit, and lost some time. After the
refuelling I upped the pace so as not to waste any more time. At the end
of the day, I am happy.
José Ignacio Cornejo 17 STAGE: 4th OVERALL: 6th
Today was the
first day of real dunes. I was feeling pretty much at ease. It was very
entertaining and I had a lot of fun. I’m in one piece and the bike too
is in perfect shape. Tomorrow is the final day and we are fighting to
improve our overall positions. I think that compared to last year I have
improved a lot, I feel a much more complete rider. I still have to
improve some things but I am very happy with my progress.