MATTHIAS WALKNER FINISHES THIRD ON OPENING STAGE OF DAKAR RALLY 2022
Dakar Rally 2022 – Stage One
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Matthias Walkner, Toby Price, and Kevin Benavides have all successfully completed the first proper day of racing at the 2022 Dakar Rally – a challenging 514 kilometer looped stage from Ha’il to Ha’il. Managing to avoid the worst of the costly navigational issues that affected many of the leading riders, Matthias Walkner finished third fastest, eight-and-a-half minutes down on the day’s stage winner. Kevin Benavides ended the stage in 14th with Toby Price placing 22nd overall. Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Danilo Petrucci enjoyed a positive day to finish 13th.
As the 11th rider to start today’s special stage following his fifth place finish in the event’s opening prologue, Matthias Walkner pushed hard from the start and, throughout the opening six waypoints, made up good time on the riders ahead of him. Running into a navigational issue mid-way between waypoints six and seven, Walkner was able to quickly find his way and end the stage in a strong third place.
Matthias Walkner: “It was a good day but super tricky with the navigation today. The rain certainly made the sand harder and things a little more challenging, but a few of us worked together, riding in a fast, strong group at the end of the stage to make sure that we arrived at the finish in a good way. In the morning the rain made the sand firmer and really nice to ride on, but at the end of the day it was much more challenging and harder to ride on. Although today was a hard day, it’s only the first day of the rally. We saw it last year, you can lose or win 30 minutes or so, but at this early stage in the race that doesn’t mean too much.”
While the first true stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally was a good one for Matthias Walkner, for teammate Kevin Benavides it proved to be a highly challenging one. Following his third fastest time in yesterday’s prologue, Kevin opted to start today’s stage as the 13th rider, which for the majority of the special proved to be hugely beneficial. However mid-way between waypoints six and seven, Kevin became one of many riders to make navigational errors, ultimately leading to a loss of time and an eventual 14th place finish.
Kevin Benavides: “The only thing I can really say is that today was not the best first day for me. There was a lot of confusion surrounding one note on the road book, which caused a lot of different riders, myself included, to make a mistake. It was such a frustrating situation. Finally, I was able to find the correct track, but of course I lost a lot of time. The important thing is that I felt really good on my bike. There’s a lot of kilometers still to race, so it’s important to stay positive and go again tomorrow, and push for good results.”
In stark contrast to his winning ride on stage one of last year’s Dakar Rally, Toby Price unfortunately endured a hugely frustrating opening stage. As one of the many riders to run into the same navigational issue, the Australian would eventually complete the special 47 minutes down on countryman and stage winner Daniel Sanders.
Toby Price: “The stage was a bit of a rough one for me today. There was one note that just didn’t seem to add up properly, didn’t quite make sense to me, so I ended up getting lost for 45, maybe 50, minutes. So, not a good way to start the rally. But it’s early days and let’s see what happens. No crashes, so that’s good, but a costly navigation mistake. I’ll keep my head down and keep at it and see what tomorrow brings.”
Faring well during his first ever Dakar Rally special stage, Danilo Petrucci was able to benefit from his starting position of 33rd and follow the tracks ahead of him, ending end the stage 13th fastest. Arriving at the troublesome waypoints after the leading riders, the Italian was able to avoid issues and went on to enjoy a notably positive result.
Danilo Petrucci: “I’m really, really happy to finish my first real Dakar stage. I was so nervous at the start. Generally, all went ok for me but the 120 kilometers after the refueling seemed really, really long for me, especially with the big dunes.”
Press release written using provisional official results available at time of publishing, which might be subject to change.
Provisional Results Stage One (overall) – 2022 Dakar Rally
1. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 4:38:40
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Honda, 4:41:47
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM 4:49:46
4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 4:51:26
5. Mason Klein (USA), KTM, 4:53:14
13. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), KTM, 5:11:09
14. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 5:15:02
22. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 5:25:57
More, from a press release issued by GASGAS Factory Racing:
DANIEL SANDERS TOPS THE TIMESHEETS ON DAKAR RALLY STAGE 1
GASGAS FACTORY RACING’S AUSSIE HARD CHARGER MAKES THE PERFECT START TO DAKAR 2022
After setting a blistering time and winning yesterday’s Prologue, Daniel Sanders has maintained his impressive speed to secure victory on today’s opening stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally! Opting to enter the stage as the 15th rider and chase down the riders ahead, the Aussie’s game plan worked perfectly with the GASGAS RC 450F Rally racer winning the special by over three minutes to maintain his place at the top of the overall provisional classification. For Sam Sunderland, despite struggling to find a waypoint along with many of his rivals, the Brit ultimately completed the stage as the sixth fastest rider.
Daniel Sanders leads the 2022 Dakar Rally!
Strong start for Sam on his GASGAS debut
Both riders eager and excited for stage two
Daniel Sanders: “So far things are shaping up really good. After winning the Prologue yesterday I got to choose my starting position and opted to start in 15th and then focus on chasing after the guys up front. There was some tricky navigation near the end of the special but I kept cool, avoided any huge errors and then l lead the stage to the end. This was great for me as it made sure I focused on my roadbook and as I’ll lead out tomorrow – it was good to get a little experience of riding alone up front. I’m excited for tomorrow and looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
Enjoying a strong debut ride aboard GASGAS machinery at the 2022 Dakar Rally, Sam Sunderland was well placed and running up front with the leading riders until until finding one of the waypoints late on in the 334-kilometer special proved anything but easy. After losing valuable time along with many of his rivals, Sunderland quickly found his way and pushed to the end of the special to secure his sixth-place finish.
Sam Sunderland: “The first proper day is done and it’s safe to say that we went straight in at the deep end! My navigation was good all day but when we got to kilometer 276 there was a waypoint which was really difficult to find. A few of us went around in circles but once I found it my only option was to push as hard as I could to make up for lost time. It’s been a tough first day but there’s such a long way to go, hopefully tomorrow will go a little more smoothly.”
Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2022, stage 1B
1. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 4:38.40
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 4:41:47
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 4:49.46
6. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 4:54.36
More, from a press release issued by Husqvarna Factory Racing:
DEMANDING OPENING SPECIAL STAGE FOR HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING AT DAKAR 2022
FIRST TRUE SPECIAL STAGE OF DAKAR RALLY 2022 PROVES CHALLENGING FOR SKYLER HOWES AND LUCIANO BENAVIDES
At the end of a demanding opening day of competition at the 2022 Dakar Rally it was Skyler Howes who claimed Husqvarna Factory Racing’s best result, the American completed the 546-kilometre stage as the 10th fastest rider despite a navigational issue hampering his performance. Teammate Luciano Benavides was less fortunate, ending the day in 38th position having been among the first riders to arrive at a troublesome section of the special stage, going on to lose valuable time trying to find the correct route through the stage.
Opting to ride cautiously during yesterday’s opening prologue so as to avoid being among the first riders into today’s special stage, Skyler was the 22nd rider to begin the first true special stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally. Steadily working his way forward while settling himself into the stage, the American improved to place just outside the top 10 as he arrived at the day’s most challenging navigational section. Thankfully, trusting his instincts, he lost little time and was able to ride on for an eventual 10th place result, earning a beneficial starting position for tomorrow’s second stage.
Unfortunately for Skyler’s teammate Luciano Benavides, the Argentinian saw what began as a positive day’s work come undone mid-way between the refuelling stop and the end of the special stage. One of the first rider to enter the stage, and a lead rider for much of the day, Luciano struggled to find the day’s decisive and all-important waypoint. Dropping more than one hour to the fastest rider by the time he reached the end of the special, Luciano eventually placed 38th.
Skyler Howes: “Today’s stage was actually quite fun to ride. It was the first stage of this year’s Dakar so I wasn’t pushing too hard. There were a lot of tracks and a lot of camel grass, so it was easy to get caught out. I just used the stage to feel my way into things early on, but then made a pretty big navigational error and just got things really wrong, like a lot of riders did. Thankfully, I went with my gut instincts and rode over a hill, then another hill, met up with some other riders that were looking for the waypoint and from there managed to find the waypoint before riding together to the finish. Apart from that the day was fun and my bike was great, so onto tomorrow.”
Luciano Benavides: “You always hope that when you are one of the first riders to start a special stage that there won’t be any big difficulties, but today there were. I ended up in all the drama with the one note that a lot of riders struggled with. After doing a good job opening the stage, at one point I was one of 10 or 12 riders all lost, which is really frustrating. Not the way I wanted the rally to start, but we will race hard during the remaining 11 stages.”
2022 Dakar Rally – Stage 1 Provisional Classification
1. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 4:38:40
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 4:41:47
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 4:49:46
4. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 4:51:26
5. Mason Klein (KTM) 4:53:14
10. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 5:03:52
38. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 5:42:11
More from a press release issued by Monster Energy Honda Team:
Quintanilla replicates second place at the end of the first Dakar 2022 stage
Today marks the end of the first stage of the Dakar Rally 2022, which began yesterday with the prologue. Pablo Quintanilla repeated yesterday’s position and remains in contention for the race lead.
Yesterday’s prologue stage was a mere curtain-raiser for the riders, but today the Dakar challenge turned serious. Navigation was the main protagonist of the day at several key points along the sandy tracks of the 333-kilometre special stage, in particular, some 50 kilometres from the end of the special where several riders lost their way. However, with the Dakar barely underway, anything can still potentially happen. The Monster Energy Honda Team riders are fairly confident that there will be other instances, similar to today’s, in store over the coming stages.
Pablo Quintanilla produced a fine performance today, arriving at the Ha’il bivouac satisfied with both his riding prowess and navigation. The rider set a fine pace to hold on to his position in the general standings securing another runner-up spot on the stage.
The day proved to be a complicated one for Joan Barreda, Ricky Brabec and José Ignacio Cornejo. The three experienced complications at one of the stage’s trickiest points and ended up conceding several minutes, dropping them down the RallyGP order.
The second stage of the Dakar, set to take place tomorrow, will be dominated by dunes. There will be several stretches of dunes occupying about a quarter of the 338-kilometre special stage. With a total of 568 kilometres, this was intended to be the only marathon stage of the 2022 Dakar, finishing in Al Artawiyah, but due to a heavy downpour yesterday which flooded the originally planned site, the bivouac has been moved to Al Qaisumah. As a result, there is no scheduled marathon stage and RallyGP riders will be able to receive external mechanical assistance like on any other race day.
Ricky Brabec 2
STAGE: 23RD OVERALL: 21ST
I feel like my rally is over. I said the same thing last year on the first day, but I lost a lot more time today. I opened the stage really well today, I thought, until I let my team-mate passed me for three minutes. Here we are now, really far back. I hope my team-mate Pablo has a good rally and we are here for him. The navigation was, honestly, really tricky before refuelling and I did a really good job – I was by myself. At about kilometre 257 we lost the way. We decided to go cap 10 average on a piste. Joan, Toby, Andrew and Kevin never saw a piste that went 10 average. I went back two or three times and never found it. We made big circles until we found it and then we rode together until the end.
Pablo Quintanilla 7
STAGE: 2ND OVERALL: 2ND
It was a tough, complicated day. Last night it rained and washed out some tracks, the route was barely visible. I tried to push throughout the whole stage, even at the note at kilometre 268, where there was a hidden waypoint that was very difficult to find. I took it easy, navigated well and in the end it turned out to be a good day. It was very physically demanding, with a lot of changes of direction, on tracks that were not very visible, very fast and stone-filled… but I feel good, with good pace. I think it was a great day.
José Ignacio Cornejo 11
STAGE: 18TH OVERALL: 18TH
It was a tough stage, at the beginning I rode conservatively, not very fast, and not going badly. But from the refuelling onwards I started to push a bit, I picked up the pace, the speed and I felt much better. There was a confusing note near the end. I was following what the roadbook said but I wasn’t very confident that it was right. It didn’t make sense what I was doing… In the end, I followed the tracks and ended up finding the waypoint. I’m not sure if it was my mistake, but we’ll keep looking ahead because there’s still a long way to go.
Joan Barreda 88
STAGE: 15TH OVERALL: 15TH
It was a difficult stage, the whole day was tough, but especially during the final 50 kilometres, where there was a note with a waypoint that was not visible. We arrived with very few references and it was almost impossible to find it; we had to do a very long loop, I went through the same place several times and at the end I was even starting to worry about the fuel. In the end, with the reference of other drivers I was able to find it. But well, it’s the first day, there’s still a long Dakar ahead and this is a taster of what everyone can expect over the coming days.