Ninth stage of the Dakar 2021 from Neom and back. Kevin Benavides wins while Price is out of the game. Now there are 3 Hondas in the lead.
The first few kilometers of today's stage run along the Red Sea coast, then turn to faster tracks and sandy tracks, before returning to Neom. Even if the background of this special appears idyllic, it was still one of the most challenging of the 43rd edition of the Dakar Rally.
Toby Price unfortunately he fell after 155 km and injured his left arm and shoulder. It is a blow to the Australian who was only a minute behind Nacho cornejo in the general classification.
At this point the Monster Honda team can partially already celebrate, with 3 motorcycle officers in the lead. The Argentine wins the stage Kevin Benavidez, followed by the Ricky brabec and from Chilean Nacho cornejo, classified in the same way also in the general classification. Instead follows a 10-minute posting Sam sunderland, with Redbull KTM and his teammate Matthias walkner at 14 minutes.
We will therefore see a very special ending, as the three Honda riders are all candidates for victory in just one minute and a half! Will the winner be who will be better at navigation or who will open more? Or will those who fear to win and dare lose? The fact is that just yesterday Oscar Polli told us to keep an eye on the South Americans and he was absolutely right.
Meanwhile, with Maurizio gerini out of the game, the Romanian Emanuel Gyenes consolidates its position at the top of the standings Original by Motul, followed by ours Cesare Zacchetti in 45th position e Franco Picco in 46a.
The comment of the pilots
Kevin Benavidez: “Just now I have received the news that my brother has fallen and I hope he is well. Also a year ago Paulo left us… So I tried to push all day, to stay focused, to keep the speed and not to make mistakes. Nacho did a good job. Eventually I felt Toby crashed too, so today was a really dangerous day. I am happy to be healthy here, as is the bike. We still have three days to keep fighting. We still have a lot of kilometers, so I think the strategy is to stay focused because everything can change in a second ”.
Oscar Polli"Day to be framed at the Dakar for Honda factory HRC. Three bikes on the podium in the 9th stage and 4 bikes in the top five. Unfortunately Toby is out and cannot show us what he was capable of anymore. The Honda Team proves to be successful after the internal revolution in 2017. Barreda more and more Mature and the riders of the team more and more aware of their abilities. Sunderland, a young talent, fast and determined, could surprise us as his victory in the 2017 Dakar. A difficult and constantly changing Dakar, concentrated but tense drivers. We wish Toby Price a speedy recovery. Meanwhile, let's enjoy the Italians still in the race Carlo Zacchetti and Franco Picco!"