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Dakar Rally Results Stage 10

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Honda’s Ricky Brabec has increased his gap on the field to almost 11 minutes. (MCH Photography/)

The battle for the Dakar Rally motorcycle category is more intense than ever. On Stage 10, the loop around the AlUla region (371 kilometers, about 231 miles, of special stage) saw Monster Energy Honda’s Ricky Brabec secure the day and increase his gap even further—now 10 minutes, 54 seconds on his rival Ross Branch.

“The day was good,” the American said. “It took me a 100 kilometers [62 miles] Adrien [Van Beveren]Then we rode together. We rode together. It was a difficult navigation, and we did make a few mistakes. But we are well-positioned for the 11th stage. Let’s keep fighting. We have a little bit of margin.”

Adrien Van Beveren is third overall, hot on the heels of Hero Motorsports’ Ross Branch.

Adrien Van Beveren is third overall, hot on the heels of Hero Motorsports’ Ross Branch. (MCH Photography/)

Stable and consistent since day 1, Brabec scored his first stage win this year: “I think we are in a good position for Stage 11, which should be the most difficult and crucial for the rally. It’s the second stage of the 2023 edition but in reverse order. The terrain will consist mainly of rocks, but it’s a familiar one to me. It’s only two days away. I am opening Stage 11 but I’m confident.”

Ricky is happy. He gets closer each day to his goal of another Dakar overall victory. He is a fighter and is willing to fight.

Brabec’s lead has grown, but it is not enough to relax with just two days left.

Brabec’s lead has grown, but it is not enough to relax with just two days left. (MCH Photography/)

Since the beginning of the second week, he has his game face on—not only in his facial expression, but every part of his body tells a lot about his dedication to this. His lion tattoo on his back, the Dakar Tuareg on his arm sealing his 2020 success as the first American to win the Dakar Rally, and then an anchor on his calf with the motivational “Sinking is not an option.” For Brabec it would be his second crown, for Van Beveren or Nacho Cornejo, it could be their first.

It is an electric atmosphere in the Honda bivouac. Brabec, who is currently leading the overall standings, is followed by Van Beveren, third only 11 minutes 46 seconds away, and Cornejo, 13 minutes 48 seconds further back. These results raise the stakes even more: Honda may be able to secure the entire podium.

What about the team order? “We are close to being a triple Honda on the podium,” Brabec said. “For sure Nacho will push to gain some time on Branch. He is very powerful; he has opened up 92 per cent of the rally. I don’t think there is a team strategy; if there was, it would be much easier. With the three of us so close, there won’t be strategy for Stage 11. I think it’s the last day for sure.”

Nacho Cornejo is just 13 minutes, 48 seconds behind Brabec.

Nacho Cornejo only 13 minutes and 48 seconds behind Brabec. (MCH Photography/)

Brabec & Cornejo share the same camping car. “We are more than teammates,” Brabec said, “we are friends. It would be great if both of us could be on the podium.”

Branch finished seventh but didn’t lose his smile. “It was super fun for me, I made a small mistake after the refueling so I lost some time, unfortunately. The race is still not over, so I’ll keep fighting until the last kilometer. It’s not just about the ride, but a successful day in general. I rode with Toby Price and it was great,” said the Botswanan from Hero Motorsports who has really set the difference this year.

Toby Price on Husqvarna and Luciano Benavides, winner of the 2023 Dakar in Kevin Benavides (5th) are followed by Toby Benavides. The Argentine is currently 32 minutes, 43 seconds from the lead: “I am happy with my performance. After my injury on December 3, I was worried about my participation. So, already being here and competing is fantastic. I am overwhelmed by the support of my fans. I performed a good stage. It was a very difficult stage with lots of stones. Together with my brother, we are doing the very best. Stage 11 will have 480 kilometers. [298 miles] of stones so it will be even harder.”

KTM’s Kevin Benavides is fifth, just over a half hour down from the front-runner.

KTM’s Kevin Benavides is fifth, just over a half hour down from the front-runner. (KTM/)

His brother Luciano reflected about the difficulties encountered this year by the three brands of the Austrian manufacturer (KTM, Husqvarna, GasGas): “I can be happy on the stage although I made some navigation mistakes. Looking at the big picture, as a team we are not getting the results we wanted—I think there is some work to do. It’s a bit frustrating. We need to keep on improving the bike because we don’t have the rhythm of the front-runners. We need to learn and collect the data so that we can evolve.”

Husqvarna’s Luciano Benavides commented about the front-runners: “Brabec and Van Beveren opened the track the whole day at an impressive rhythm. Everyone can see that they are one step ahead of us. Honda has won nearly all of the stages. The Honda riders are doing a fantastic job. We only need to gather information and continue working. Looking at overall, it’s true that everything is open till the end, but to recover 51 minutes is a lot.”

A day of rocks awaits the Dakar riders on the 480-kilometer (298 miles) Stage 11.

The Dakar riders will face a day of rocks on Stage 11, a 480-kilometer (298 mile) stage. (KTM/)

The Dakar Rally has reached its final sprint. Two days are left: AlUla to Yanbu (480 kilometers or 298 miles) with its rocks and challenging terrain. On January 19, the sprint race begins with a 175 kilometer loop starting from Yanbu by the Red Sea.



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