Dakar Rally: Benavides Wins Stage Nine, American Howes Keeps Overall Lead

Dakar Rally: Benavides Wins Stage Nine, American Howes Keeps Overall Lead

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Husqvarna Factory Racing:

STAGE NINE WIN FOR LUCIANO BENAVIDES AT 2023 DAKAR RALLY

HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING RIDER CLAIMS HIS SECOND STAGE WIN OF THE EVENT AS

SKYLER HOWES CONTINUES TO LEAD THE OVERALL

Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has topped day nine of the Dakar Rally. Securing his second stage win of the 2023 event, the Argentinian delivered a masterclass of rally racing, only dropping to second for a short distance before powering his FR 450 Rally home to post the fastest time. The result moves Benavides from 11th to seventh.

On a tough day at the Dakar, with difficult navigation and challenging terrain, Husqvarna Factory Racing excelled with both riders completing the special inside the top three. It was Benavides, setting off 21st into the stage that came out on top. The number 77 focused carefully on his road book and didn’t make the same mistakes as many of his rivals to lead the timesheets for the majority of the 358 kilometres raced against the clock. Happy with his result, his performance, and the feel of his machine, Luciano will now open Wednesday’s 624-kilometre stage 10 from Haradh to Shaybah.

Starting two places ahead of his teammate, Skyler Howes also put in a great ride to secure a third-place result. Losing a couple of minutes while trying to find one particular waypoint meant that the American was soon caught by Benavides, and from there the two pushed hard toward the refuelling stop and then on to the finish. Skyler retains his lead in the overall standings and will have the opportunity to chase down the second-placed rider on tomorrow’s stage 10.

Luciano Benavides: “I’m really happy. I cannot believe I won again, and to be the first rider at this Dakar to win twice feels incredible. It was a really hard stage with a lot of navigation – you really had to focus on your road book to make sure you didn’t make any mistakes. There were a lot of broken tracks and different lines, so it was easy to take a slightly wrong line. Now I am opening the stage tomorrow, so it will be full gas all the way to the finish.”

Skyler Howes: “The stage today was pretty tricky. We hit a section where we were missing one waypoint and it was in a place deep with stones and a lot of mud. It was tough to navigate through there and I knew we were going off the CAP heading a little, so I had to circle around to get back on track. Luciano caught up with me then and riding together we really put the charge on, partly because I thought I had lost a lot more time than I had. We did a good job all the way from the refuelling to the finish. The ground out there was incredible – there’s been so much rain, in some places it was like riding through giant rivers. It’s been a challenging day and I’m sure there will be plenty more to come as we make our way to the end.”

2023 Dakar Rally – Stage 9 Provisional Classification

1. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:18:44

2. Toby Price (KTM) 3:19:46

3. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 3:21:41

4. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 3:24:56

5. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 3:26:37

6. Toni Mulec (Husqvarna) 3:27:30

 

2023 Dakar – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 9]

1. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 33:55:57

2. Toby Price (KTM) 33:56:00

3. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 34:01:06

4. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 34:11:37

5. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 34:14:21

6. Mason Klein (KTM) 34:14:39

7. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 34:17:32

 

 

 

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

RUNNER-UP RESULT FOR TOBY PRICE ON STAGE NINE OF DAKAR RALLY

Dakar Rally 2023 – Stage 9

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has posted the second quickest time on today’s stage nine at the 2023 Dakar Rally, moving up to second overall in the provisional standings, just three seconds from the lead. Kevin Benavides also delivered a strong stage, completing the special as fifth fastest, he now lies third overall. Matthias Walkner sits 11th overall following a tough day in the Saudi desert.

Fresh from their rest day, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders came into the 686-kilometer stage nine looking to secure strong results on the long, 358-kilometer timed special. With the first half of the stage made up of riverbeds and canyons, navigating cleanly proved difficult for a lot of riders. The second half of the special opened into a wide expanse of dunes on the way to the bivouac at Haradh.

Racing inside the top two on time for the entire stage today, Toby Price put in an excellent ride that saw him finish the stage as runner-up. Coming in just over one minute behind the winner, Price’s performance saw him move up to second overall in the provisional standings, just three seconds back. The two-time Dakar champion will now follow today’s winner into Wednesday’s stage 10, aiming to minimize the time lost to the chasing pack.

Toby Price: “Yeah, it’s been a good day for me. It looks like the boys in front got lost just before the refuel. I navigated through there really good, so that meant I was able to make up some minutes. I just tried to push on a bit today, I was trying really hard to keep up a fast pace but not make any big mistakes. All in all, I felt really good today, it’s nice to feel fresh after the rest day. It looks like tomorrow will be mostly all sand, so we’ll try our best there and see where we end up.”

Also producing a solid result on day nine, despite a small navigational error early on, Kevin Benavides celebrated his recent birthday in style by placing fifth on today’s stage. The 34-year-old had moved into third place by kilometer 85, but then lost several minutes trying to find one particularly tricky-to-navigate waypoint. Although Kevin lost his second-place overall position to teammate Price, he still lies in third, just over five minutes behind the leader.

Kevin Benavides: “Today was a really hard stage with a lot of navigation. I tried my best to make a good pace and focus on my road book. I pushed really hard right from the beginning but then lost a bit of time with a really complicated note in the road book – thankfully not as much as some of the riders ahead of me. After that I pushed on towards the finish and had a good, trouble-free ride. I’m pleased with my result today, so we’ll see how things go tomorrow.”

Falling foul of the same complicated note on the road book as Benavides, Matthias Walkner struggled for longer as he tried to find the waypoint and as such dropped around 20 minutes on his rivals. Pushing hard for the remainder of the special, Walkner was able to regain a number of places to ultimately complete the stage in 27th. He now lies 11th in the overall standings.

Matthias Walkner: “It was a really hard stage for me today. Although I tried to give it my all, I got lost at one point and that cost me a lot of time. Not the best day for me at all. I spent most of the day riding on my own, so it was difficult to judge my pace, too. It’s frustrating because I feel stronger with my wrist, but it was just that one small mistake that has cost me some minutes. I’ll try my best tomorrow and keep on pushing to the finish.”

Wednesday’s stage 10 from Haradh to Shaybah will see riders cover a total distance of 624 kilometers, with a relatively short 114-kilometer timed special raced against the clock.

Provisional Results – 2023 Dakar Rally, Stage 9

1. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 3:18:44

2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:19:46 +1:02

3. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 3:21:41 +2:57

4. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHI), Honda, 3:24:56 +6:12

5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 3:26:37 +7:53

Other KTM

27. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 3:43:42 +24:58

 

Provisional Standings – 2023 Dakar Rally (after 9 of 14 stages)

1. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 33:55:57

2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 33:56:00 +0:03

3. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 34:01:06 +5:09

4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 34:11:37 +15:40

5. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 34:14:21 +18:24

Other KTM

11. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 34:40:33 +44:36

 

 

 

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

CHALLENGING DAY IN THE DESERT FOR SANDERS AS STAGE NINE SERVES UP SOME TESTING NAVIGATION

RED BULL GASGAS FACTORY RACING’S DANIEL SANDERS DIGS DEEP TO COMPLETE THE SPECIAL AND REMAINS POSITIVE ABOUT THE DAYS AHEAD

In rally racing, anything can, and often does, happen. And today was one of those days for Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Daniel Sanders. Faced with the arduous task of helping to lead out on stage nine after his runner-up finish on stage eight, Chucky frustratingly lost a substantial amount of time in a rocky plateau early on in the 358km special and would ultimately go on to finish in 20th place. Despite the challenging day in the saddle, importantly, Daniel is over the sickness bug which derailed his week-one charge and is now fighting fit and ready to attack, starting with tomorrow’s stage 10.

Week two of the Dakar begins with a frustrating start

Daniel lies ninth overall after challenging special stage

Stage 10 up next and it’s set to be a sandy one!

Daniel Sanders: “Today was always going to be tough leading out and early on I quickly caught up with the leading riders. There was a note in the roadbook to head up into a rocky plateau but once up there it was really hard to find the way. I reckon I lost around 15 minutes or so there, but that’s how rally goes sometimes. It’s a little frustrating but all I can do is keep moving forward and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Eager to kick off week two with another solid stage result, Daniel maintained a blistering pace through the early part of the ninth special in his bid to lose the least amount of time as possible to his rivals, who all benefitted from following the tire tracks left in the sand by his awesome RX 450F. But as is sometimes the way in rally, navigating through unridden, rocky terrain with minimal roadbook instructions can be seriously tough. Nevertheless, despite knowing he was losing time, Sanders remained cool, eventually finding the right way. After that it was full gas to the finish line!

Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2023, stage 9

1. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:18:44

2. Toby Price (KTM) 3:19:46

3. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 3:21:41

20. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 3:38:25

 

Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 9)

1. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 33:55:57

2. Toby Price (KTM) 33:56:00

3. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 34:01:06

9. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 34:19:44

 

 

 

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

A HARD DAY FOR THE TEAM REACHING HARADH

Back to the action after the rest day, the Dakar Rally entered its last week in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. Stage number nine made the connection between Riyadh and Haradh, with a special stage of 359 kilometers and a liaison of 328 km. Wadis, canyons and dunes were the ingredients of a day where navigation was once again a key factor of success.

Monster Energy Honda Team had a hard day but keeps a strong position in the top ten. Jose Ignacio Cornejo, who is doing here his seventh Dakar, was today the fastest one of the squad. He finished in fifth place (6:12 minutes gap to the leader) and managed to climb some steps in the overall standings, where he sits now in eighth position. On his eighth Dakar Rally, Adrien Van Beveren reached Haradh in the 14th position (15:48 minutes gap to the leader) but did not compromise his ranking in the overall standings (4th place). Pablo Quintanilla is the most experienced of the team, he started the Dakar Rally back in 2013 and was second last year. He finished today’s stage in 18th position (18:36 minutes gap to the leader) and will start stage number 10 in the 5th place of the overall standings.

Tomorrow is time to move in the direction of Shaybah to race the 10th stage of the race. This selective section has been kept deliberately short – just 114 kilometers – as an approach into the bowels of the Empty Quarter. A long liaison (508 km) will take up most of the day, so this true appetizer will be mainly composed of the local delicacy: sand.

Ruben Faria

General Manager

“This was a difficult stage for Monster Energy Honda Team in the comeback from the rest day. Nacho Cornejo did very well and managed to approach himself to the top contenders and shorten his gap climbing one step in the overall standings. Adrien and Pablo had quite a hard day opening the track. They know how it is in the Dakar when you are in those circumstances. I know they did their best and were both able to keep positions in the overall standings, losing some time but still in a very good position to say a word in the discussion for this year’s title”.

José Ignacio Cornejo  11

“This was the first stage after the rest day. Navigation was kind of tricky, we started with some dunes then some rocky piste. I was feeling pretty good from the beginning, made no navigation mistakes and was riding at a good pace. Then I crashed, not too fast, but got stuck under the bike and damaged the road-book. I have to thank Santolino because he was there and helped me. I lost some minutes, but not too much and managed to continue at a good pace. ”

Adrien Van Beveren  42

“This was a hard day for me. I started fifth and at around kilometer one hundred the navigation was tricky in the big plateau and it was difficult to see the tracks. Then I found the waypoint and then we were all five riders together. Mason was riding without a road-book very close to me and around 20 km from the end he came from behind and we both crashed. So I am glad I could make it to the end of the stage.”

Pablo Quintanilla  7

“This was a tough day for us, the ones who were riding in front. I caught the group in front at around 120 km. There was a tricky note in the road-book close to a plateau and I lost 2 or 3 minutes there. Then Adrien caught me and we were riding together until the end. It was really difficult today, because the road-book had a lot of different directions. We knew we were going to lose some time. It is always easier when you come from behind. The Dakar is like this, sometimes you get a good position, others you just don’t”.

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