The best time of the second special of the Dakar in the motorcycle category, Joan Barreda Bort took first place in the general classification.
Dakar 2021 stage 2 – Honda’s Joan Barreda Bort and Ricky Brabec have jumped to the top of the Bikes classification as Toby Price lost over 30 minutes on Stage 2 of the Dakar Rally.
Both Barreda Bort and Brabec got lost on the opening stage but they finished first and second respectively on the 685km journey from Bisha to Wadi Ad-Dawasir and now occupy the same positions overall.
Price, on the other hand, has dropped from the lead to 16th in the general classification, 17:39s off the pace, after a trying day for the bulk of the Red Bull KTM Factory Team.
Australian rookie Daniel Sanders was second-fastest to the third-last waypoint before losing over 10 minutes in the next 47km, but was still best of the Austrian marque’s works squad on Stage 2 and is now within four minutes of Price’s overall time.
Barreda Bort was fastest to every waypoint of the 457km timed special, generally stretching his margin over Brabec through the day such that it was 3:55s at the end of the stage.
Pos Rider Nat Make Time/Gap 1 Joan Barreda Bort ESP Honda 08:15:38 2 Ricky Brabec USA Honda +0:06:23 3 Ross Branch BOT Yamaha +0:06:37 4 Pablo Quintanilla CHI Husqvarna +0:07:16 5 Xavier de Soultrait FRA Husqvarna +0:08:25 6 Adrien van Beveren FRA Yamaha +0:08:34 7 Luciano Benavides ARG Husqvarna +0:09:07 8 Skyler Howes USA KTM +0:09:31 9 Stefan Svitko SVK KTM +0:10:23 10 Lorenzo Santolino ESP Sherco +0:10:51
All told, a total of 6:23s separate the Monster Energy Honda riders in the event thus far, while Monster Energy Yamaha’s Ross Branch is just 14 seconds further adrift.
Branch grabbed the fourth-fastest stage time, while third on the day lifted Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) from outside the top 20 to fourth overall.
Price led the field out but gave up ground throughout the stage to be exactly 32 minutes slower than Barreda Bort to the finish, with the Australian at one point spotted repeatedly trying to clear a sand dune (See below).
Sanders looked like being one of the stars of the day, clocking a time just 3:23s slower than Barreda Bort’s to Kilometre 351, but ended up 16:31s slower than the Spaniard at the finish of the special.
He sits 18th overall in his first Dakar, 21:11s off the pace which includes a seven-minute penalty incurred on the first stage for speeding.
Sanders’ and Price’s days were straightforward compared to that of team-mate Matthias Walkner, who encountered a gearbox-related problem and was forced to make repairs to his bike on stage (See below).
The 2018 Dakar champion began the day in third overall but is now 46th at best having haemorrhaged more than two hours before he got to the first waypoint at Kilometre 46.
On the other Red Bull KTM, Sam Sunderland fared better but still dropped from fourth to 12th in the general classification and is now 12:50s off top spot.
Australian Michael Burgess (BAS Dakar KTM) slipped from 34th to 42nd, 1:49:00s off the pace, while compatriot and fellow debutant Andrew Houlian (Nomadas Adventure) is still going.
The latter was again among the later starters due to time lost with an electrical drama on the Prologue, but had gained almost 30 positions on Stage 1 to sit 69th at that point of the event.
NASSER AL-ATTIYAH WINS SECOND STAGE OF DAKAR RALLY
Nasser Al Attiyah bounced back to win the second stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on Monday ahead of rivals Stephane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz.
He overcame the disappointment of spurning the chance of getting his campaign off to a winning start in the first stage when Sainz ran away with the honours.
The three-time winner of the Dakar steered through the 457-kilometre long stage from Bisha to Wadi Ad Dawasir in 4hr 03min 14sec to take the victory after reigning champion Sainz won Sunday’s opening stage.
“It was a good day,” said Attiyah, who is aiming for a seventh Olympic skeet appearance in Tokyo later this year.
“Yesterday we lost a lot of time because we opened the way and it was not really good for us and we didn’t take risks.
Peterhansel, a 13-time winner of the championship, leads the overall standings with after a stellar finish on both the stages despite missing out the first place finish on either days.
Spaniard Sainz 6min 37sec behind and Attiyah just over nine minutes back.
The Frenchman said he had been stressing about how to avoid getting bogged down in the first sand dunes of this year’s Dakar.
“It was the first dunes, but also the car was full of diesel which meant it was really heavy,” said Peterhansel, whose 13 Dakar victories came seven times in a car and six on a motorbike.
“So, the priority was not to get stuck. After that, I have to say that we navigated well.”
“Today it was a very beautiful stage. The desert was much more open. So, the priority was not to get stuck.”
Spain’s Joan Barreda took the honours at the second second stage in the motorbike category, pipping American rider and title holder Ricky Brabec, who is also on a Honda.
Brabec has a lot of time to claw back after trailing in almost 20 minutes behind Australian Toby Price in Sunday’s first stage after losing his way in the desert terrain.
Barreda, whose victory was his 25th on a Dakar special, said he had had no option but “to push with everything — I put it all in today.”
“I enjoyed this type of stage a lot. It’s faster and better for me, better than enduro like it was yesterday,” the Spaniard said.
There looks like being a fierce struggle for the title among the lightweight vehicles. Gerard Farrés, second on today’s special, completes the provisional podium in the general standings, only one minute behind Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez.
“The start of the special was difficult for me, driving in the dunes. But then every time it got better, but of course today I’m happy for Armand because, well, how was the navigation today, Armand? – Yeah, today we started with really tricky navigation,” said Farres.
Tuesday’s third stage sees competitors racing a loop around Wadi Ad Dawasir, the gateway to the Empty Quarter, a vast sand desert that covers much of the southern Arabian Peninsula and given prominence by explorers such as Wilfred Thesiger.
Organisers have promised a “hefty serving of dunes, albeit spread far and wide and in small chains” for the 403km special.
DAKAR RALLY 2021 STAGE 2 RESULTS & HIGHLIGHTS DAKAR RALLY 2021 STAGE 2 RESULTS & HIGHLIGHTS