After the motorcycle/ATV section of Stage 8 was cancelled in the aftermath of Paulo Goncalves’ death, the riders took to the course again today, with Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) and Toby Price (KTM) pushing hard to take back the lead from Honda—but maybe not hard enough.
Both riders made up time against leader Ricky Brabec, who finished fourth on his Honda, but with only three stages left, they have to make up more than a handful of minutes if they want to dethrone him.
Honda’s Joan Barreda Bort finished third on the day, one of his best performances so far this year, and he did it despite crashing. He’s no doubt somewhat worried about keeping his legacy as an insanely fast madman, constantly in contention as long as his bike and body hold together. But with three stages left, he’s still got lots of time to bin it, and keep up his usual pattern.
The war of attrition continues in the standings, propelling some racers up the rankings as others crash out. Sherco’s Lorenzo Santolino is gone, after being extracted by the medical team. He was 16th overall at the start of the day. His exit means some other familiar names, like Juan Pedrero Garcia and Laia Sanz, have moved up closer to a top-15 finish—unless they, too, end up having to leave early. That’s the cruel reality of Dakar.
Although organizers promised dunes in today’s stage, the footage and photos seemed to show a lot of rough, rocky terrain. Tomorrow, though, should be wild. It’s the start of the second marathon stage, and is heading to Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter. It’s a wilderness, with massive sand dunes, the size of mountains. Be ready for spectacular footage, spectacular racing, and no doubt more stories of heartbreak and heroism by the end of the run.
2020 Dakar Rally Stage 9 results
1. Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna
2. Toby Price, KTM, + 00:01:54
3. Joan Barreda Bort, Honda, + 00:02:42
4. Ricky Brabec, Honda, + 00:03:55
5. Ross Branch, BAS Dakar, + 00:05:30
6. Kevin Benavides, Honda, + 00:05:50
7. Luciano Benavides, KTM, + 00:06:08
8. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo, Honda, + 00:06:23
9. Andrew Short, Husqvarna, + 00:06:57
10. Matthias Walkner, KTM, + 00:08:07
1. Ricky Brabec, Honda
2. Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna, + 00:20:53
3. Toby Price, KTM, + 00:26:43 (00:02:00 penalty)
4. Joan Barreda Bort, Honda, + 00:28:16
5. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo, Honda, + 00:29:29 (00:01:00 penalty)
6. Matthias Walkner, KTM, + 00:37:16
7. Luciano Benavides, KTM, + 00:41:11
8. Franci Caimi, Yamaha, + 01:21:04 (00:05:00 penalty)
9. Skyler Howes, Klymciw, + 01:24:24
10. Stefan Svitko, Slovnaft, + 01:30:35