DAKAR 2020: BENAVIDES WINS TRAGIC STAGE 7

Today’s stage 7 of the 2020 Dakar Rally held the longest special stage of the entire rally (546 kilometers against the clock), from Riyadh, southbound with destination Wadi Al-Dawasir. The route took in varied terrain types, going from multiple tracks in off-piste plains, to lengthy stretches of dunes, making up a quarter of the special. When it was over, HRC Honda rider Kevin Benavides was declared the winner after a period of confusion surrounding the death of Paulo Goncalves. Around halfway through the special Goncalves crashed and was later pronounced dead. To read of the Paulo Goncalves incident, click here. 

Benavides, who had the fastest time until that point, stopped to remain with the fallen rider until the medical helicopter had departed. KTM rider Toby Price did the same. Initially Honda rider Joan Barreda was declared the winner, but after the time was adjusted, Benavides was on top. His chances of overall victory are almost nill, though, after having been towed in on stage six with a blown motor.  Ricky Brabec, still sits on top of the standings despite the burden of starting up front after winning stage six. He was fifth on the day without conceding much time to his immediate pursuers on the leader board.

Ricky Brabec, stage seven. Photos: Rally Zone

Ricky Brabec: “On arriving we heard the news about Paulo. We all know that motorcycling is a dangerous sport, but today is a really sad day for the people of Cross-Country Rallies. Our thoughts are with the family. The race standings don’t mean anything anymore. It’s secondary. Life goes way beyond sport.”

Andrew Short had a good day, riding to a ninth place finish, His thoughts, too, centered around Goncalves.

Andrew Short: “Speechless and having a hard time understanding this.  Paulo was an amazing person and great racer. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Today is a day I won’t forget.”

For extended coverage of the 2020 Dakar Rally, click here.

Results Stage 7

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
1 BENAVIDES Kevin 7 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team 04:36’22
2 BARREDA Joan 12 SPA Monster Energy Honda Team + 01’23
3 WALKNER Matthias 2 AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +04’17
4 BENAVIDES Luciano 16 ARG KTM Factory Racing Team +04’48
5 BRABEC Ricky 9 USA Monster Energy Honda Team +04’52
6 CORNEJO José Ignacio 17 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +06’12
7 PRICE Toby 1 AUS KTM Factory Racing Team +07’57
8 QUINTANILLA Pablo 5 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +08’44
9 SHORT Andrew 6 USA Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing +09’02
10 CAIMI Franco 22 ARG Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +09’59

 

PROVISIONAL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 7

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
1 BRABEC Ricky 9 USA Monster Energy Honda Team 28:25’01
2 QUINTANILLA Pablo 5 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +24’48
3 CORNEJO José Ignacio 17 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +27’01
4 PRICE Toby 1 AUS KTM Factory Racing Team +28’44
5 BARREDA Joan 12 SPA Monster Energy Honda Team +29’39
6 WALKNER Matthias 2 AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +33’04
7 BENAVIDES Luciano 16 ARG KTM Factory Racing Team +38’58
8 HOWES Skyler 59 USA Klymciw Racing +01:15’02
9 CAIMI Franco 22 ARG Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +01:15’31
10 SVITKO Stefan 19 SLO Slovnaft Team +01:19’41

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