Dakar Rally: Kevin Benavides Wins Stage 13, Price Retains Overall Lead

Dakar Rally: Kevin Benavides Wins Stage 13, Price Retains Overall Lead

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

KEVIN BENAVIDES WINS DAKAR RALLY STAGE 13

Dakar Rally 2023 – Stage 13

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price and Kevin Benavides lie first and second overall in the provisional standings at the 2023 Dakar Rally. After over 43 hours of racing, the two KTM 450 RALLY riders are separated by just 12 seconds! Unfortunately, Matthias Walkner crashed out of stage 13 today and was airlifted to hospital suffering from pain in his lower back.

Although stage 13 was a long one for the riders, coming in at a total of 675 kilometers, the distance raced against the clock was relatively short at 154 kilometers. The special was again made up predominantly of the rolling dunes of the Empty Quarter, and although navigation wasn’t too challenging, reading the terrain and maintaining a good pace was hugely important in order to secure a good result.

Kevin Benavides endured a tough stint in the desert today. Setting off fifth, the 2021 Dakar winner knew the penultimate stage of the event would offer the best chance to make up ground on teammate, rival, and overall rally leader Toby Price. However, at around 55 kilometers into the special, Kevin reached Matthias Walkner who had crashed. Staying with his fellow Red Bull KTM racer until the medical team arrived cost Benavides around 23 minutes. After rejoining the race Kevin pushed hard for the finish, making up good time in the process. After having the lost minutes returned to him, Benavides topped the stage by a tight 27 seconds – enough to provisionally move him up into second in the overall standings.

Kevin Benavides: “It’s always a difficult day when you see someone has had a crash, and it’s worse when it’s your teammate. I stayed with Matthias until help arrived and although he was in some pain, he then told me to carry on. I pushed hard for the rest of the stage, but it’s tricky to focus after seeing something like that. To win the stage is amazing, and to be second overall and so close to Toby is even more of a surprise. With one day left all I can do is try my best and the results will be decided at the finish line.”

Delivering an excellent ride to fifth place on stage 13, despite a small crash and a navigational error, Toby Price retained his lead in the overall standings. But with Benavides now moving into second, a mere 12 seconds behind, the race to the finish line in Dammam on Sunday’s final stage will be intense. As per the Dakar Rally rules, riders will set off in reverse order to the general standings, meaning Kevin will be second-to-last away, followed by Toby.

Toby Price: “It’s been a hectic day out there today. I caught the guys in front at about kilometer 90 and thought to myself, if I want to win this race, I have to be out front and capture that bonus a little bit. I had a small crash where I was focused on the top of one dune, lost the front, and fell over. Then around kilometer 130 we just went slightly too far right and lost a little time getting back on course. I really pushed hard all day, with the goal to still be in the lead going into the final day. I managed to do that, so I’m pleased, but it’s still incredibly tight at the top. Tomorrow really is going to be a race to the finish line, but I’ll give it all I have and see where we end up.”

Showing fantastic speed on the dunes of the Empty Quarter over the last few days, Matthias Walkner came into stage 13 eager to impress once again. Unfortunately, a crash at the kilometer 55 mark brought an end to his stage and his rally. The Austrian suffered trauma to his lower back and has been airlifted to hospital in Dammam for further checks.

Sunday’s stage 14 – the final of this year’s event – will see riders leave the bivouac in Al Hofuf and head north to Dammam. The timed special will be a relatively short sprint up the coast to the finish line, where the 2023 Dakar Rally Champion will be crowned.

Provisional Results – 2023 Dakar Rally, Stage 13

1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 2:21:47

2. Michael Docherty (ZAF), Husqvarna, 2:22:14 +0:27

3. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 2:22:44 +0:57

4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 2:23:52 +2:05

5. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 2:24:15 +2:28

 

Provisional Standings – 2023 Dakar Rally (after 13 of 14 stages)

1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 43:11:51

2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 43:12:03 +0:12

3. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 43:13:22 +1:31

4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 43:27:42 +15:51

5. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 43:27:50 +15:59

 

 

 

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

THIRD PLACE ON DAKAR STAGE 13 FOR LUCIANO BENAVIDES

HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING’S SKYLER HOWES COMPLETES PENULTIMATE STAGE IN SEVENTH AND LIES THIRD OVERALL WITH ONE STAGE LEFT TO RACE

Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has delivered another stunning performance at the 2023 Dakar Rally, placing third fastest on the 675-kilometre stage 13. Teammate Skyler Howes steered his FR 450 Rally to seventh place and now lies third overall in the provisional overall standings, less than two minutes behind the leader.

It was another tough day in the desert for all riders as they completed the 13th stage of this epic 45th running of the Dakar Rally. As the event left the dunes of the Empty Quarter and headed to Al Hofuf, competitors raced 154 kilometres against the clock, which were followed by a long liaison to reach the bivouac.

Luciano Benavides, pushing hard right from the start of the special, was immediately in contention to take his fourth stage win at this year’s Dakar. Initially fastest across the finish line, a one-minute penalty dropped the number 77 to second, which was then corrected to third place after Luciano’s brother Kevin was rewarded time lost for assisting a fallen rider.

Although slightly disappointed not to have taken another stage win, Luciano was more than happy with the way he has ridden the featureless Empty Quarter region and is now looking to finish his race on a high with another strong ride on tomorrow’s final stage 14.

Still well in the hunt for overall victory at this year’s Dakar, Skyler Howes was the sixth rider through the gate this morning and maintained a strong pace to the finish, despite a couple of errors along the way. The American has dropped down to third overall in the provisional overall standings, but he trails the leader by just one minute and 31 seconds and will have one final opportunity to make up time on his rivals on the rally’s 14th stage tomorrow.

Luciano Benavides: “The stage was good – around 150 kilometres of dunes. I had a small crash near the beginning, possibly from pushing a little too hard. But after that, I found my rhythm and was able to push again. Midway through the stage I saw Matthias (Walkner) on the ground with the helicopter. Obviously, I hope everything is ok with him and wish him a speedy recovery. After that, I carried on to the finish and think I did a good job. It wasn’t quite enough to win the stage, but I’m happy with how I rode.”

Skyler Howes: “Well, I definitely gave my all today – I pushed right from the start as hard as I could. When I saw that Walkner had crashed, it affected my focus a little bit. There were some really big dunes today, I had big jumps off the top of them myself, too. That was a bit of a deciding factor, I really wanted to push and try and get the win, but I want to make sure that I can complete the race as well. I missed one waypoint later on, and that meant circling around to pick it up, so I lost a little bit of time there. I’m still in the fight for the win, and I have to be super happy with how this race as gone up to this point. I can never look back and say I didn’t try my best. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, it’s going to be a short but fast stage with little scope to make up time I think, so the goal is to get my Husqvarna to the finish line in one piece and hopefully in a good position.”

2023 Dakar Rally – Stage 13 Provisional Classification

1. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 2:21:47

2. Michael Docherty (Husqvarna) 2:22:14

3. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 2:22:44

4. Adrian Van Beveren (Honda) 2:23:52

5. Toby Price (KTM) 2:24:15

6. Romain Dumontier (Husqvarna) 2:24:19

7. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 2:25:18

 

2023 Dakar – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 13]

1. Toby Price (KTM) 43:11:51

2. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 43:12:03

3. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 43:13:22

4. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 43:27:42

5. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 43:27:50

6. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 43:30:20

 

 

 

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

SANDERS SAFELY THROUGH PENULTIMATE STAGE OF THE 2023 DAKAR RALLY

RED BULL GASGAS FACTORY RACING STAR LIES SEVENTH OVERALL WITH JUST ONE DAY REMAINING

That’s the penultimate stage at the Dakar Rally done and dusted. After posting the 11th fastest time, Daniel Sanders now lies in a comfortable seventh overall. As the second rider to enter stage 13, Sanders quickly formed a trio with two other leading riders and together they ripped through the rolling sand dunes of the Empty Quarter for one last time. In the process, Daniel increased his advantage over eighth place from just over three minutes to almost six, ahead of tomorrow’s final – a fairly simple looking special. Bring it home, Chucky.

Sanders completes penultimate stage at the Dakar

Red Bull GASGAS star enjoys another challenging special

Just 281 kilometers separate Chucky from the finish line

Daniel Sanders: “It was a pretty tricky but enjoyable day up front today. The dunes were really soft which made it hard to maintain a fast pace while trying to navigate, and between the waypoints there were some big gaps, which added to the difficulty. But I pushed on the best I could to not lose too much time and I think I did a pretty good job. There were definitely a few close calls out there but that’s all part of the fun of riding through the dunes!”

Stage 13 and the penultimate day of racing at the Dakar saw Sanders once again help to open the special following his strong runner-up finish yesterday. Setting off into the 154-kilometer special stage with no lines to follow, Chucky demonstrated some impressive navigation skills to bring his awesome RX 450F home just under five minutes adrift of the stage winner. And now, after covering just over 7,600 kilometers so far in this year’s event, just 417 kilometers separate Daniel from the finish line in Dammam.

Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2023, stage 13

1. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 2:21:47

2. Michael Docherty (Husqvarna) 2:22:14

3. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 2:22:44

11. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 2:26:46

 

Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 13)

1. Toby Price (KTM) 43:11:51

2. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 43:12:03

3. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 43:13:22

7. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 43:34:25

 

 

 

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

ONLY ONE MORE STAGE TO GO AT THE DAKAR RALLY

Today the penultimate stage of this year’s Dakar Rally was a goodbye to the vast landscapes of the Empty Quarter side of Saudi Arabia.  Leaving Shaybah, the riders had a short liaison of nine kilometers and then started the 153 km long special section. The route of this 13th stage was composed mainly with dunes (84 percent) so this was one last chance to enjoy this unique scenario and fight to move up in the top standings.

Monster Energy Honda Team surpassed this physical and mechanical extreme endurance test and reached Al-Hofuf bivouac safely on their Honda’s CRF 450 Rally. After yesterday’s stage win,  José Ignacio Cornejo was the first to leave and had the mission to open the track. The Chilean finished with the best 14th time (12th in GP), with a gap of 07:42 minutes for the leader – a performance that allowed him to keep his 8th position in the overall standings. Pablo Quintanilla was 8th (6th in GP) with a gap of 03:33 minutes to the leader – he also kept his position in the overall standings (5th place). Adrien Van Beveren was all stage fighting for the top standings and finished in fourth position, also keeping his fourth place in the overall standings.

The last stage of this year’s Dakar Rally will complete the trip around the red sea, leading the caravan to the shores of the Arabian Gulf in Dammam. There will be a liaison of 270 kilometers from Al-Hofuf and a  special section 136 km long – an unusually fast beach section before reaching the final podium ceremony that celebrates all finishers of this great adventure. Tomorrow there will be a reverse start, meaning the slowest will open and the top contenders close the stage.

Ruben Faria

General Manager

“This year’s Dakar Rally is for sure one of the most competitive ever. The differences in the top standings are really tight after around 43 hours of racing . We are not in the position we wanted but our riders have been fighting stage after stage, giving all they can and having the full support of the team. That’s the spirit and this is Dakar, let’s continue to give our best. ”

Adrien Van Beveren  42

“I pushed a lot at the beginning and then I jumped really high in a dune and that was like a joker. It was kind of scary. I was trying to go fast but safe at the same time but that was not easy, due to the many drops in the dunes. Overall we are in the same position. I think this is my best Dakar, with a very solid performance. There is still one more day to go so let’s fight until the end. ”

Pablo Quintanilla  7

“This was a quite fun stage to ride, with many dunes. I was riding with a good rhythm from the beginning and overall it was a good stage. One more day to go and I know I gave everything in each stage, so that is the way I plan to keep until the last kilometer .”

José Ignacio Cornejo  11

“I knew this was going to be a difficult day, because I had to open the stage. We lost some time like normal, I did the best I could so it was not so bad. I was feeling good and I am glad all my teammates could also return safely to the bivouac. Now let’s continue and give all we can in the last stage ”

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