DAKAR STAGE 11: KTM GETS BACK IN THE GAME

As the 2021 Dakar Rally winds down, all of the major teams are licking their wounds from what has been a grueling event. Red Bull KTM hasn’t had much too boast about this year, but today they had a great day with Sam Sunderland finally taking a stage win. The victory moved him into second place, just four minutes behind Honda’s Kevin Benavides. setting up a showdown in tomorrow’s final stage. Just a few days ago, the Honda team was dominating the top of the standings, but today they lost another rider. Joan Barreda crashed, missed a refueling point and then ran out of gas, eventually being airlifted out and requesting medical attention.  Ricky Brabec predictably had trouble navigating as he opened the course following yesterday’s win. Benavides caught him and the two teamed up to find the course. After the shortened stage was all over, the fatigue of the event set off some friction between the KTM and Honda teams. The 2021 Dakar Rally concludes with Friday’s stage 12. Competitors will once again face a long day in the saddle covering a total of 452km from Yanbu to the finish line at Jeddah. A relatively short timed special of 225km will give riders the chance to make a final push and improve on their results in time to take the checkered flag. The stage could still throw up a few surprises however with tricky to negotiate dunes combined with technical navigation testing racers for one last time at this year’s event.

Sam Sunderland: “I knew that today was one of my last chances to try to win and I gave my all, all day. The boys up front did a great job and, you know, I cannot be sad, because I give everything I have and try my best. I didn’t quite manage to take enough time, but I’m happy with my effort. We still have one day to go and many things can happen on one stage. What a really tough day and a really difficult Dakar, but I’m super grateful for the team and everybody that put all the work in. Even to be able to be racing our bikes in the desert with the situation as it is in the world everywhere else, I can’t complain and I’m going to be happy to go and get some rest now”.

Benavides and Brabec team up in the dune. Photo by Eric Vargiolu DPPI.

Ricky Brabec: “Big day to open on this one, it was expected to lose time today after all the competition was behind. Today is said and done, tomorrow let’s make a final push and after a bit of drama from the orange brigade boys were fired up on this one!!”

Kevin Benavides: “We did a really good job with Ricky. It was a really hard day, very long with plenty of navigation, a lot of sand and dunes. I opened for about two hundred kilometers, so I think I did a good job. With Ricky we pushed together on the dunes. We tried to do our best. Today was really hard to be in front, but we are okay and this is a really good point. I think I did a nice job and tomorrow we will see, on the last day. Why would Joan make a mistake on purpose? For sure, no, Joan just made a mistake, not for that, for sure. Tomorrow we will push like every day, no other strategy than that. There are no team orders and yes, the race is still open.”

Skyler Howes now sits in 5th overall. Photo by Eric Vargiolu DPPI.

For extended coverage of the 2021 Dakar Rally, click here.

STAGE 11

1 5
 SAM SUNDERLAND
RED BULL KTM 04H 35′ 12”
2 2
PABLO QUINTANILLA
ROCKSTAR HUSQVARNA 04H 37′ 52” + 00H 02′ 40”
3 47
 KEVIN BENAVIDES
MONSTER ENERGY HONDA 04H 41′ 36” + 00H 06′ 24”
4 21
 DANIEL SANDERS
KTM FACTORY TEAM 04H 43′ 46” + 00H 08′ 34”
5 52
 MATTHIAS WALKNER
RED BULL KTM 04H 44′ 39” + 00H 09′ 27”
6 1
RICKY BRABEC
MONSTER ENERGY HONDA 04H 47′ 58” + 00H 12′ 46”
7 15
 LORENZO SANTOLINO
SHERCO FACTORY 04H 50′ 21” + 00H 15′ 09”
8 11
STEFAN SVITKO
SLOVNAFT 04H 51′ 57” + 00H 16′ 45”
9 87
ORIOL MENA
FN SPEED – RIEJU 04H 53′ 27” + 00H 18′ 15”
10 42
 ADRIEN VAN BEVEREN
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA 04H 55′ 00” + 00H 19′ 48” 00H 05′ 00′

OVERALL AFTER STAGE 11

1 47
KEVIN BENAVIDES
MONSTER ENERGY HONDA 45H 01′ 44” 00H 02′ 00”
2 5
SAM SUNDERLAND
RED BULL KTM 45H 05′ 56” + 00H 04′ 12”
3 1
RICKY BRABEC
MONSTER ENERGY HONDA 45H 08′ 57” + 00H 07′ 13”
4 21
DANIEL SANDERS
KTM FACTORY TEAM 45H 34′ 49” + 00H 33′ 05” 00H 07′ 00”
5 9
SKYLER HOWES
BAS  KTM 45H 50′ 51” + 00H 49′ 07” 00H 06′ 00”
6 15
LORENZO SANTOLINO
SHERCO FACTORY 45H 51′ 10” + 00H 49′ 26”
7 2
PABLO QUINTANILLA
ROCKSTAR  HUSQVARNA 46H 02′ 02” + 01H 00′ 18”
8 42
ADRIEN VAN BEVEREN
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA 46H 27′ 30” + 01H 25′ 46” 00H 20′ 00”
9 11
STEFAN SVITKO
SLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM 46H 28′ 24” + 01H 26′ 40”
10 31
MARTIN MICHEK
ORION – MOTO 47H 16′ 39” + 02H 14′ 55” 00H 03′ 00”

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