Pablo Quintanilla posted second place today at the finish-line in Wadi Ad-Dawasir, clawing back time and setting up the chance of making the top step of the final podium. Monster Energy Honda Team’s American rider Ricky Brabec was fourth on the day.
The Dakar Rally heads into its final stretch and today, with the lengthiest stage of this edition, at 830 km, the mileage count takes a hefty leap forward. On the agenda were 395 kilometres of special stage across the southern part of Saudi Arabia, with plenty of sand and a lot of dunes to be tackled. From Al Dawadimi it was on to Wadi Ad-Dawasir, on a day featuring more kilometres of link section than special stage. The most southerly located bivouac in this Dakar will be the destination for two stages: tomorrow, a new looping stage will see competitors charter territory in the vast Empty Quarter.
Pablo Quintanilla was the best placed representative from the Monster Energy Honda Team on today’s stage, although most of the riders performed well on the eighth stage of the Dakar 2022. Pablo reached the bivouac in second place, less than three minutes behind the day’s winner. Ricky Brabec also set a fierce pace, registering the day’s fourth best time, 6’44” behind Sunderland. Tomorrow, the American should be able to use tomorrow’s position to his advantage to gnaw into the time of his direct rivals.
Nacho Cornejo got lumbered with the unpleasant task of opening the track today after winning yesterday’s stage. The young Chilean rode well until the latter part of the day, when a minor navigation error caused him to slip back, losing a little more time than expected. Monster Energy Honda Team team-mate Joan Barreda took a tumble on a dune early in the special that left him in some pain throughout the day. The rider still managed to finish ninth in RallyGP with a 12 minutes deficit. The Spaniard is fifth overall, 14’38” behind the race leader.
The Wadi Ad-Dawasir loop, some 491 kilometres in total, including 287 kilometres of timed special stage, will pass through a fairly unfamiliar area: the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter. Mountains and tracks between canyons will require a radically different riding style to the approach used until now. Less sand, but higher difficulty level, especially regarding the navigation.
|1||3||Sam Sunderland||GAS GAS Factory Racing||03:48'02||-||-|
|2||7||Pablo Quintanilla||Monster Energy Honda Team||03:50'55||+00:02'53||-|
|3||52||Matthias Walkner||Red Bull KTM Factory Team||03:52'13||+00:04'11||-|
|4||2||Ricky Brabec||Monster Energy Honda Team||03:54'46||+00:06'44||-|
|5||43||Mason Klein||Bas Dakar KTM Racing Team||03:56'10||+00:08'08||-|
|6||18||Toby Price||Red Bull KTM Factory Team||03:56'41||+00:08'39||-|
|10||88||Joan Barreda||Monster Energy Honda Team||03:59'45||+00:11'43||-|
|15||11||José Ignacio Cornejo||Monster Energy Honda Team||04:05'24||+00:17'22||-|
|1||3||Sam Sunderland||GAS GAS Factory Racing||27:38'42||-||-|
|2||52||Matthias Walkner||Red Bull KTM Factory Team||27:42'27||+00:03'45||-|
|3||42||Adrien Van Beveren||Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team||27:43'25||+00:04'43||-|
|4||7||Pablo Quintanilla||Monster Energy Honda Team||27:44'12||+00:05'30||-|
|5||88||Joan Barreda||Monster Energy Honda Team||27:53'20||+00:14'38||00:01'00|
|6||1||Kevin Benavides||Red Bull KTM Factory Team||27:53'29||+00:14'47||-|
|12||11||José Ignacio Cornejo||Monster Energy Honda Team||28:17'03||+00:38'21||-|
|13||2||Ricky Brabec||Monster Energy Honda Team||28:18'40||+00:39'58||00:02'00|