Monster Energy Honda Team set to build on the fine work done as the Dakar heads into its second week
|Ricky Brabec would have won last year had his Honda engine not popped|
With American Ricky Brabec heading the overall leader board, many might believe that the Monster Energy Honda Team hold good chances of triumphing in the rally. But take nothing for granted: on the second week of the Dakar Rally we will face to toughest part of the race.
It was a highly-positive opening week at the Dakar for the Monster Energy Honda Team. Ricky Brabec occupies top position in the general rankings of the rally which – for the first time in its history – is being held in Saudi Arabia. The American rider, who has won two stages so far in the rally, sits on a twenty-minute advantage over his immediate pursuers. Brabec will now be seeking to contain his adversaries over the forthcoming stages in a bid to be in final contention when the rally concludes in Qiddiyah.
Likewise, Jose Ignacio Cornejo and Joan Barreda both occupy top positions among the race elite, in fourth and fifth respectively. The Chilean claimed a first ever win in the world’s toughest rally and has assiduously edged his way into the leading group thanks to improvements in riding skills and the sheer will to be among the frontrunners. The Spaniard got off to a labored start in this year’s edition of the Dakar with a fall in the first stage aggravating a rib injury sustained just a month ago. However, as the race has progressed the Dakar Legend has found himself increasingly at ease and can be expected to make further progress as the rally heads into phase two.
Kevin Benavides yesterday suffered a mechanical mishap in the thick of day six, whilst battling for the stage victory. In spite of finishing way back, Benavides continues in the race and the plucky Argentinean will be certain to give 100% when he arrives back on track.
Tomorrow, Sunday, sees the start of the second week with a heavy dose of kilometers in store for competitors as they face the longest special of the rally. Riders will tackle 546 kilometers of sand and dunes with tough navigation to boot.
This is… Stage 7
Link > 195 km – Special > 546 km – Total > 741 km
The resumption will be the opposite of a rest day… the longest stage in the Dakar and also one of the most varied. Dunes are scattered along the entire route and the riders will have to cross small dune fields of a few kilometers. Between these climbing portions, off-road alternates with sectors with numerous crossings where the navigators will have to be on their toes at all times. Fast… but not too fast!
Provisional Bike Standings after Stage 6 (Top-10)
|1||Brabec Ricky||9||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||23:43'47|
|2||Quintanilla Pablo||5||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+20'56|
|3||Price Toby||1||AUS||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+25'39|
|4||Cornejo Jose Ignacio||17||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+25'41|
|5||Barreda Joan||12||SPA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+32'58|
|6||Walkner Matthias||2||AUT||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+33'39|
|7||Benavides Luciano||16||ARG||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+39'02|
|8||Howes Skyler||59||USA||Klymciw Racing||KTM||+01:04'50|
|9||Svitko Stefan||19||SLO||Slovnaft Team||KTM||+01:07'49|
|10||Caimi Franco||22||ARG||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+01:10'24|