Dakar Rally: Cornejo Wins Stage Nine, Walkner Takes Overall Lead

Dakar Rally: Cornejo Wins Stage Nine, Walkner Takes Overall Lead

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


Dakar Rally 2022 – Stage Nine

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Matthias Walkner has taken the provisional overall lead of the 2022 Dakar Rally following a fourth-place finish on day nine. Continuing to deliver strong and consistent stage results, the Austrian star now sits over two minutes ahead of the second-placed rider. Kevin Benavides placed second today, with Toby Price bringing his KTM 450 RALLY home in 17th. Danilo Petrucci finished one position further back and just seven seconds behind in 18th.

Relatively short at a total distance of under 500 kilometers, and with a timed special of 287 kilometers, stage nine of the Dakar was made up of a fast, looped route close to Wadi Ad Dawasir. As the third rider into the stage, Matthias Walkner immediately took his time, focusing on his navigation to avoid making any costly errors. However, with the special proving to be relatively straightforward, Walkner knew he would have to push to stay in touch with his two rivals ahead of him. By catching them both by the finish, the experienced Austrian not only moved himself up into the provisional lead of the race, but also lost the minimum of time to his closest competitors while also securing himself another strong start position for Wednesday’s stage 10.

Matthias Walkner: “It was quite a short stage today, but really, really fast. It wasn’t too difficult with the navigation and the boys in front did a good job, so it was quite hard to make up a lot of time. By the refueling I saw that I was a little off the pace, not too much, but I knew I would have to get my head down for the second half of the stage. It all seemed to pay off because I have taken over the lead of the overall and also my starting position for tomorrow is quite good. We’ve got three more really interesting days to come.”

Right on the pace from the very start of today’s special, Kevin Benavides placed within the top three for much of the stage, despite the times being exceptionally close throughout the top 10. Steering his KTM 450 RALLY to a runner-up result, the reigning Dakar Champion moves back up the provisional rally order to fifth, just over 10 minutes behind the leader. With three stages left to race and Kevin very much on form, the Argentinian hopes to be able to climb higher in the rankings to challenge for the podium places by the rally finish on Friday, January 14.

Kevin Benavides: “Stage nine was a really good stage for me. I felt really good on the bike and was able to push a lot. I expected the navigation to be a little trickier, but in the end, it was quite easy to choose the correct way. The guys in front did a good job of navigating so in the end it just came down to speed, and all the guys at the front ended up being really close on time. I finished second today, which will make tomorrow a little tougher. But I’ll focus on my navigation and with only three days left, my plan is to push all day, every day.”

Another solid performance on stage nine saw Toby Price complete the timed special as 17th quickest, albeit only eight and a half minutes down on the winner. Lying just outside the top 10 overall, Toby hopes to use his start position on Wednesday’s stage 10 to elevate himself further up the rankings.

Toby Price: “It was a good day, I had a couple of little mistakes, but nothing too crazy. I’m starting a little way back tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll be able to grab a little time back then. Other than that, the bike is good, I feel good, we’ll keep on pushing tomorrow.”

Danilo Petrucci once again showed his speed and class on stage nine of the rally, competitive on time and running for most of the day just outside the top 10. Losing a couple of minutes in the very final kilometers of the special, Danilo completed the day as 18th fastest, less than nine minutes behind the winner.

Danilo Petrucci: “I had a good day today. I’m really happy with my riding and was able to match the speed of the top guys for much of the stage. Unfortunately, I did have a small technical issue that caused me to stop a couple of times, but thankfully, I didn’t lose too much time. It might not be too much of a bad thing because I have a good start position for tomorrow now and I hope to be able to really push once again.”

Provisional Results Stage Nine (overall) – 2022 Dakar Rally

1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHI), Honda, 2:29:30

2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 2:30:56 +1:26

3. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 2:31:17 +1:47

4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 2:31:17 +2:06

5. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 2:31:40 +2:10

Other KTM

17. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 2:38:05 +8:35

18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), KTM, 2:38:12 +8:42


Provisional Standings – 2022 Dakar Rally after 9 of 12 stages

1. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 30:14:03

2. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 30:16:15 +2:12

3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 30:17:59 +3:56

4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 30:18:44 +4:41

5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 30:24:25 +10:22

Other KTM

11. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 30:49:17 +35:14




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



Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has continued his run of top-10 stage results by placing seventh-fastest on day nine of the Dakar Rally. Equalling his result from day eight, Benavides completed today’s special just over four minutes behind the eventual winner. In the provisional rankings, the FR 450 Rally rider lies 14th overall.

The prescribed route for today’s 287-kilomtere stage nine was very fast, while also posing less of a challenge in terms of navigation. As such, the top competitors completed the stage with very little time to separate them. Setting off seventh into the special due to his strong performance from stage eight, Luciano Benevides used the first 100 kilometres to get comfortable and settle into the fast terrain before focusing on his speed from there to the end of the stage.

Completing the special four minutes and 21 seconds off the leading time, despite navigating through much of the stage on his own, Luciano’s pace shows the quality of his riding and the performance of his Husqvarna Factory Racing machine. With three days left to race, Luciano lies 14th overall, 54 minutes behind the provisional rally leader. However, with times between the riders extremely close, the 26-year-old is fully focused on delivering more strong results, and moving further up the order, to hopefully complete the event well inside the top 10.

Luciano Benavides: “Stage nine was a short, fast stage, but I really enjoyed it. It was made up mostly of rocky valleys and canyons with a few sections of dunes, too. The route was really high speed, so it wasn’t the best day to make up time on everyone else. I tried to be as consistent as I could because I think even a small mistake could end up costing you a lot of time today with everything being so close. I think I did a good job – I’m pleased to get two seventh place finishes in a row now, and again it puts me in a good starting position for tomorrow. I’m feeling good, the bike is working well with no problems, physically I am ok too. The team have also been putting in a lot of good work, so I’m really happy with how everything is going. I’m looking forward to pushing once again tomorrow.”

2022 Dakar Rally – Stage 9 Provisional Classification

1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 2:29:30

2. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 2:30:56

3. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 2:31:17

4. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 2:31:36

5. Joan Barreda (Honda) 2:31:40

6. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 2:33:26

7. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 2:33:51


2022 Dakar Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 9)

1. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 30:14:03

2. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 30:16:15

3. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 30:17:59

4. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 30:18:44

5. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 30:24:25

6. Joan Barreda (Honda) 30:25:00

14. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 31:08:36




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

Second victory for Nacho Cornejo. Monster Energy Honda Team well-positioned to contest the final Dakar stages

Monster Energy Honda Team riders will be in contention for the final overall Dakar Rally 2022 victory. Although the first week did not go quite according to plan, the team has, nevertheless, given their maximum to stand a chance in the rally’s grand finale. Nacho Cornejo won the ninth stage.

Fewer and fewer stages are left to decide the outcome of the 2022 Dakar Rally. Today, in the ninth stage, the 287-kilometre special stage around Wadi Ad-Dawasir began to mark out which riders will be in the final contention for the win. A total of 491 kilometres, through the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter, featured less sand than on previous days, but more mountain tracks running between canyons that demanded precise, mistake-free navigation.

Yesterday Nacho Cornejo had been left with a bittersweet taste after the eighth stage. A slight mistake towards the end of the special, had left the rider without the prize he had been ultimately seeking: that of minimising any markings for his pursuers to follow while opening the track throughout the day. Today, he returned to the Wadi Ad-Dawasir bivouac with a smile beneath his helmet after a second win in this Dakar, taking the young Chilean’s total tally to five.

Monster Energy Honda Team’s American rider Ricky Brabec rode a fine special, pushing hard and posting third place on the day. Joan Barreda also completed the day’s stage with a certain degree of normality, a mere 2’10 behind his team-mate. Barreda, fifth on the stage, holds sixth in the general standings, less than 11 minutes behind the race leader. Lastly, Pablo Quintanilla did a commendable job today to set himself up nicely for the final victory battle of this 2022 Dakar. He finished eighth on the day and lies in fourth place overall just 4’41 behind the new race leader.

Tomorrow’s stage

With two days to go until the end of the rally, riders can once again expect a navigation-filled day before the 759-kilometre trek is completed. About half the distance – some 375 kilometres – will be against the clock. The crossings and parallel tracks could be the undoing of more than a few bikers.

Ricky Brabec  2


Today went well. I think I rode very well, and that’s positive. The team, the riders and the mechanics are doing an excellent job. I’m slowly realising a couple of things: sometimes there are days when you don’t lose or gain time and sometimes you can gain or lose a lot of time. It’s something we have to study… I’m happy to be able to get to the end of another day with the whole team. There are two tough days left, so we’ll have to keep pushing. I try to go fast every day, to make up time, but maybe I have to do things differently.

Pablo Quintanilla  7


I’m happy. It was a good day because the goal today was to catch Sam and not to make any navigation mistakes. In the end it was a straightforward day: no mistakes, I caught up with Sam after the refuelling and we clawed back another minute in the overall. I think I have a good position for tomorrow. I won’t have to open the track but I will have fast riders in front and behind. We will try to manage the pressure well tomorrow. The times are very tight and will stay that way until the end. I’m really enjoying the race.

José Ignacio Cornejo  11


I think I had a good stage. Yesterday I lost a lot of time towards the end, opening the track, and today I wanted to make up some of that time. I would have liked to make up more, but the stage was very fast and it was difficult to make a big difference. I’m pleased: I did what I had to do, which was to push. There are three days left and we will continue with the same attitude, trying to turn out solid performances and improve in the general standings.

Joan Barreda  88


Today went quite well. I started 10th, with several riders ahead of me. I set a steady pace, making good decisions in terms of navigation. As the kilometres went by, I felt a bit better and in the final part, I was able to push harder. The truth is that the riders in front navigated really well and didn’t make any mistakes, so the pace was pretty high. We weren’t able to pull back much from the riders in front, but the positive thing is that another stage is over and I have a chance to fight for the Dakar, recovering physically by the day. The goal is to reach the finish-line giving it the maximum.




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



Stage nine of the 2022 Dakar Rally was a crucial one for GASGAS Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland. After his impressive stage win yesterday, he faced the arduous task of leading the riders out on today’s 287-kilometer timed special. Digging deep to post a 14th place finish – a result that at first glance might look anything but impressive but in reality is genuinely one hell of a performance – the Brit lost only a minimal amount of time, just over eight minutes in fact, to the eventual stage winner. Now lying two minutes adrift of the provisional overall rally leader with three days to go, the race to the finish is well and truly on for Sam!

Exceptional navigation ensures Sam loses little time on stage nine

Over 30 hours of racing against the clock now complete

Four-rider battle for the Dakar crown begins to emerge

Sam Sunderland: “Opening a stage only adds to the difficulty of rally racing and I’m super happy with how the day went for me. On paper you could look at the results and think it wasn’t a great stage for me, but the reality was that leading out means you’re relying solely on your roadbook. Not losing huge chunks of time today means I did a pretty good job. Since my crash last week, I’ve felt better and better every day so I’m looking forward to this continuing through the final three days.”

In what’s turning into a four-rider battle for the 2022 Dakar title, Sam’s performance on stage nine may well be his best yet. With the Brit now firing on all cylinders after his crash during week one, he’s back to his best and more than ready for the final three days of racing.

Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2022, stage 9

1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 2:29:30

2. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 2:30:56

3. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 2:31:17

14. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 2:37:33


Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 9)

1. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 30:14:03

2. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 30:16:15

3. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 30:17:59

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