Dakar Rally: Benavides Wins Stage 11, Sunderland Back In The Lead

Dakar Rally: Benavides Wins Stage 11, Sunderland Back In The Lead

© 2022, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By KTM Factory Racing:

KEVIN BENAVIDES TOPS PENULTIMATE STAGE AT DAKAR 2022

Dakar Rally 2022 – Stage 11

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Kevin Benavides has bounced back from a tough day 10 to win stage 11, the penultimate day of the 2022 Dakar Rally. On one of the toughest specials of the event, Matthias Walkner brought his KTM 450 RALLY home in an excellent fourth place, and now lies third in the provisional event standings with one day left to race. Opening today’s stage, Toby Price placed 28th, while Danilo Petrucci completed the 346-kilometer special in 17th.

The event organizers ensured there was a sting in the tail to this year’s Dakar Rally by delivering one the most challenging stages of the race on the penultimate day. Technically demanding navigation combined with extremely soft sand and dunes tested the riders and their machines to the limit.

After a disappointing stage 10 yesterday in which his 2022 Dakar hopes came to an end, Kevin Benavides bounced back in style, showing impressive speed to top today’s results. Putting in an incredible performance, the number one plate holder fought his way from a late, 33rd place start to ultimately win the stage by a narrow four seconds. Benavides will now lead out the event’s short, final 164-kilometer timed special on Friday’s stage 12.

Kevin Benavides: “It was a really demanding day today. It’s great to get the win but I’m full of emotion because of the issue I had yesterday. Up to that point I was fighting for the overall, and now, after going fastest today I know I would have been in with a chance to win the rally. I gave it my all today, mostly to prove to myself that I could do it. I think it’s important to be able to come back from disappointment and immediately fight for a stage win. I have to thank the whole team, but especially my mechanic who worked so hard last night to give me an amazing bike for today – it felt perfect on the stage. I will now have the pleasure of opening the last stage of the race with no pressure, so I’m really looking forward to it and reaching the finish.”

Well in the fight for the overall rally honors, Matthias Walkner had to ensure he delivered a strong stage result today with the minimum of mistakes to stay in contention for the 2022 title. Fastest to the first checkpoint, Walkner navigated superbly through the remainder of the special to complete the stage in fourth place, just under five minutes down on teammate Benavides. Moving up to third overall in the event standings, Matthias will be aiming to reduce the gap to the current leader during tomorrow’s stage and secure a podium position while also fighting for the rally win.

Matthias Walkner: “It was a really long and really fast stage today. It was very dusty this morning too, which made the navigation even more difficult. I made a few small mistakes, but I really did try my best all day pushing as hard as I could. Finally I was able to make the finish with a good time and it puts me in a good position for tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens.”

After his win on day 10, Toby Price had the unenviable task of opening today’s ultra-tough stage 11. An issue early on where a waypoint didn’t validate correctly for the Australian put him on the back foot for the rest of the special. However, using his skill and speed, the twice Dakar Champion was able to regroup and keep pushing through the arduous terrain. Ultimately completing the stage in 28th, Toby now lies 10th in the overall standings with one day left to race.

Toby Price: “It was super dusty today and navigation was tough, but I had a frustrating problem early on at kilometer four where one waypoint didn’t validate, even though I’m pretty sure I was in the right place. I had to zig-zag back and forward and thankfully in the end, even though I was on the same track, it activated. Hopefully we can have that checked, but other than that the day went ok, I felt good on the bike and arrived safely at the finish line. One more day to go tomorrow, and that will be the 2022 Dakar complete.”

Continuing to impress, and despite the severity of today’s stage, Danilo Petrucci brought his Tech3 KTM 450 RALLY home in a commendable 17th place, just over 23 minutes down on the eventual stage winner. With one more day remaining, the former MotoGP racer is now just 680 kilometers away from completing his first Dakar Rally.

Danilo Petrucci: “It was one of the toughest days of my life today. I got a little lost early on with some other riders and then after that there were some really soft dunes. I have never seen anything like that before, it was really tiring to ride through. Then we raced through a huge sandstorm where it was really difficult to find your way and stay focused on your navigation. Luckily, after the refueling it was ok – the sand was still really soft, but it wasn’t so tricky. Unfortunately at one point I hit a piece of wood that was hidden underneath the sand and I had a big crash and hurt my shoulder. I was able to make it to the finish, but it did give me a lot of pain. We have one more day to go, so I’m looking forward to reaching the finish.”

Provisional Results Stage 11 (overall) – 2022 Dakar Rally

1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 3:30:56

2. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 3:31:00 +0:04

3. Joaquim Rodrigues (PRT), Hero, 3:33:22 +2:26

4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 3:35:50 +4:54

5. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 3:36:18 +5:22

Other KTM

17. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), KTM, 3:54:10 +23:14

28. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 4:01:43 +30:47

 

Provisional Standings – 2022 Dakar Rally after 11 of 12 stages

1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 37:04:05

2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 37:10:57 +6:52

3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 37:11:20 +7:15

4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 37:19:35 +15:30

5. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 37:31:59 +27:54

Other KTM

9. Mason Klein (USA), KTM, 37:55:14 +51:09

10. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 37:56:32 +52:27

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by GASGAS Factory Racing:

GASGAS FACTORY RACING’S SAM SUNDERLAND RETAKES DAKAR RALLY LEAD

OUTSTANDING RIDE ON PENULTIMATE STAGE MOVES SAM ONE STEP CLOSER TO DAKAR GLORY!

We said stage 11 would be a pivotal day of racing at the Dakar and, oh boy, it sure was! After losing a little time yesterday, the pressure was well and truly on Sam today, who in no uncertain terms needed to deliver a flawless ride to keep his chances of a second Dakar win alive. And that’s exactly what he did. Putting together a standout performance, Sam navigated perfectly, attacked from the start, and finished second on the stage, just four seconds behind the eventual winner. Now, with just one day of racing to go, the GASGAS Factory Racing ace sits at the top of the leaderboard with a near seven-minute advantage over his nearest rival.

Sam returns to the top of the provisional Dakar leaderboard

Outstanding performance on penultimate stage from Sunderland

One day and just 163 kilometers of racing to go!

Sam Sunderland: “Today was a really tough one. We were expecting it to be difficult and even four kilometers in there were lines everywhere in the sand. From there on I had to focus on myself and stay on top of my roadbook, it wasn’t really an option to follow the lines ahead. Through the dunes I was able to make up some time, which was good and I just missed out on another stage win. Up until now the race has gone really well, the whole team behind me has been fantastic but the race isn’t over until it’s over. All I can do is hope for a clean run through tomorrow’s stage and then we’ll see where we end up.”

In rally racing, starting any stage a handful of riders behind the first rider generally proves to be an advantage, but with the navigation incredibly tricky on today’s penultimate stage of the rally, it was every man for himself out there in the desert. Opting to focus solely on his roadbook throughout the challenging 345-kilometer special, Sam was in superb form, narrowly missing out on the stage win but more importantly, now leads the rally heading into the final, decisive day of racing. It’s go time!

Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2022, stage 11

1. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 3:30:56

2. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 3:31:00

3. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 3:33:22

Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 11)

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 37:04:05

2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 37:10:57

3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 37:11:20

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Husqvarna Factory Racing:

LUCIANO BENAVIDES BATTLES THROUGH DAKAR STAGE 11

ONE DAY OF RACING REMAINS FOR HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING STAR AT GRUELLING 2022 EVENT

Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has completed the hugely demanding stage 11 of the Dakar Rally in 26th place. Following his excellent runner-up performance on Wednesday’s stage 10, the FR 450 Rally rider was the second competitor to take to today’s challenging special where he soon found himself up front and opening much of the route.

Totalling 501 kilometres, stage 11 of the Dakar included an extremely tough 346-kilometre timed special that tested riders with a combination of soft sand dunes, faster tracks and canyons, with technically demanding navigation throughout. Although setting off near the front proved to be a disadvantage, Benavides rode extremely well, focusing on his roadbook and safely making his way through the special without any major issues.

Completing the day as 26th fastest, less than 30 minutes down on the eventual stage winner, Luciano lies 13th overall in the event standings and will enjoy a strong start position for the final day of the race – the 680-kilometre stage 12. The young Argentinian’s primary goal is to successfully complete the stage and earn his first Dakar finish riding for the Husqvarna Factory Racing team.

Luciano Benavides: “Another stage done, and it was super tough today. Probably not the best day to start in front, but I did my best as always and I think I did a good job. The navigation was very tricky and with the dunes being so soft it would have been easy for the guys starting behind to make up time. I was able to catch up with Toby (Price) ahead of me and we took it in turns to open the stage. I lost some time, but not enough to affect my position in the overall. There is one day left so I will go out tomorrow and do my best to finish the race strong.”

2022 Dakar Rally – Stage 11 Provisional Classification

1. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 3:30:56

2. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 3:31:00

3. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 3:33:22

4. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 3:35:50

5. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 3:36:18

6. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 3:38:36

26. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:58:54

 

2022 Dakar Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 11)

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 37:04:05

2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 37:10:57

3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 37:11:20

4. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 37:19:35

5. Joan Barreda (Honda) 37:31:59

6. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 37:41:29

13. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 38:15:11

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Honda Team:

Pablo Quintanilla to fight nail and tooth for the overall Dakar 2022 win

Monster Energy Honda Team’s Dakar Rally battle will go down to the wire. After the penultimate stage, Pablo Quintanilla holds second overall place with a chance of victory. There are still over 150 kilometres left to go, with the Dakar often producing final stage surprises.

Today’s special stage, as expected, was an intriguing one. The strategy of the previous day, which saw some riders managing to lose time, yet drop many positions, in order to benefit in today’s starting order, dictated for the most part, what happened on the route today. Some 346 kilometres of sand and dunes, on a total stage of just over 500 kilometres, helped define how the podium is likely to look at the end. The Bisha loop caused a few losses, but many riders were able to make up for time they had lost yesterday.

Ricky Brabec was the best-placed Monster Energy Honda Team rider on the day. The American finished in fifth place, moving up into six place overall, a position which he hopes to consolidate tomorrow. Brabec finished just one place ahead of team-mate Pablo Quintanilla. Pablo, sixth, performed well today – well enough to be in contention tomorrow and could improve on his current second place in this 2022 Dakar. The Chilean biker is less than seven minutes behind the overall race leader. If the full length of the final special stage goes ahead as planned tomorrow, the rider could well spring a surprise and stand a chance of scooping the world’s toughest rally.

Chilean José Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Cornejo also had a good day in spite of a minor mistake in the opening kilometres of the special. Today’s seventh place also puts him into the same position in the general rankings. Lastly, Joan Barreda was lumbered with opening the track today as the riders ahead forced him to carry the stage’s main burden. The conditions were not ideal for Joan who struggled to make progress in the soft dunes of Bisha. With a fall included, the Spaniard finished sixteenth in RallyGP and is fifth in the general standings, nearly half an hour behind the race leader.

Tomorrow’s stage

Bisha-Jeddah. The final stage of the Dakar Rally 2022 will be decided over a total of 676 kilometres, including just 163 against the clock. Leaving the dunes behind, the race will be fought over hard tracks with some sand. A lot of technical complexity is expected before the riders reach the shores of the Red Sea, with the final podium set to take place on the Bisha street circuit.

Ricky Brabec  2

STAGE: 5TH  OVERALL: 6TH

This year’s Dakar has been difficult for me personally, to get back into the fight after a bad start. The team didn’t let us down, so we can’t let them down…. We have tried very hard to do our best and give it our all. On this stage 11 we tried very hard to do a good job; I would have liked to make up a lot more time than I did. I’m happy with the way I’m riding and I’m happy with the team, I’ve learned a lot. Our team-mate Pablo can do it tomorrow. Unfortunately, I heard that the stage will be shortened, which in my opinion is unfair.

Pablo Quintanilla  7

STAGE: 6TH  OVERALL: 2ND

It was a difficult stage. One of the hardest we’ve done on this Dakar, with a lot of wind, with sectors of very soft dunes. It was very difficult to make progress. I tried to push as hard as I could from the first kilometre; it wasn’t easy. I really let rip but without losing my concentration. In the end, it was a good day, I gave 100% and I think that’s what’s important, that I gave my best every day. There is still one day left and the race is not over until you cross the finish-line. Tomorrow we will attack again from the first kilometre.

José Ignacio Cornejo  11

STAGE: 7TH  OVERALL: 7TH

It was a good stage; not the best, but not the worst either. I made a small mistake at the start, where I lost a few minutes. Mathias passed me and we ended up riding together until the end. I think it was a solid stage. We also moved up in the overall standings, which makes me happy because we have managed to overcome a bad first stage. We are not where we wanted to be. Tomorrow the rally will be over, so we will draw our conclusions afterwards.

Joan Barreda  88

STAGE: 16TH  OVERALL: 5TH

Today was a very difficult stage, I could say it was one of the most difficult I’ve ever done. I had to open the track from kilometre 4. I tried to keep a good pace, but I encountered some tough situations, with very soft sand that made it almost impossible to move forward; the bike got stuck about ten times, including one where I was thrown off completely and Toby and Luciano helped me to get the bike back upright. I want to say thanks to both. We opened the track all day long. I’m happy because I gave 100%. Some days go well and others not so well. But the best thing is to be satisfied with yourself.

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