Stage 9, from Tidjikja to Atar hosted a 361km Special that was a fast, sandy stage and according to the Dakar website, “This stage has been traced so that amateurs can reach the bivouac as early as possible in order to enjoy the rest day.”

One minute penalties were accessed to quite a few of the Rally?s riders for not remaining in the GPS XTE corridor. It seems that is what happened to U.S. Red Bull KTM Dakar Team members Chris Blais and Kellon Walch as a one-minute penalty was added to both of their times. No matter, as both young riders are still working their way up the lines. Chris Blais finished in the 9th position to be ranked 10th in the Rally standings. Kellon finished stage 9 in 14th to be positioned in the 13th overall spot. U.S. Team manager, Scot Harden completed the day in 27th and is now 19th overall.

January 9th was a rest day for the riders.

Stage 10 from Atar back to Atar was a 483km loop Special, presenting the Rally?s most difficult dune crossing to date. For Scot Harden, this stage would not be his best. The KTMPress website reports, “Scot Harden started riding with a handicap this morning. He explained, “Already on the last stage, I had to make a wide step; to almost spread my legs to a complete split. I pulled the muscle in my thigh and it tore.” The doctors have done a maximum to treat it most efficiently. “They did a great job. I still cannot walk all that well, but it is okay to sit and ride on a motorcycle.” Therefore the guy from the US was satisfied arriving in Atar in the 20th spot (+ 1h23?57). After all, he?ll still be able to keep on going.”

Chris Blais and Kellon Walch seemed to be in their element. Chris placed 11th for the stage and he now sits in the 10th overall position, and Kellon completed the stage in the 10th spot and he is now ranked in 11th.

Stage 11 will be from Atar to Kiffa and will hold a 400km Special.


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