As the competitors are enjoying their well-earned rest day in Ha’il today. Their mechanics are working on the bikes, and it’s time to come up with a new strategy for many as the week’s results are still nowhere near decisive. Toby Price (KTM) is in the lead overall, but he said he’s being cautious with optimism just yet: “It does not mean one little thing. The only time you know it’s a good day is after you cross the finish line on Day 12”, Price commented.

Ricky Brabec remains 13th overall, while fellow American Skyler Howes is now 9th overall. Ross Branch, the Botswanan rider who went from privateer to Yamaha factory rider after his impressive Dakar debut, is now fourth overall, an incredible result for him and Yamaha. Brabec’s teammate Joan Barreda Bort is seventh, while Honda riders Kevin Benavides and Jose Ignacio Cornejo hold second and third places overall.

This Dakar is throwing challenges and surprises at competitors each day. In the motorcycle category, riders had to deal with contaminated fuel, while car drivers are complaining about unfair penalties and navigation that feels more like “gymkhana than a rally”, Carlos Sainz, a legendary driver with 14 Dakar finishes and 3 wins under his belt, has said. “I am a little demoralized and upset, because the rally looks more like a gymkhana than a rally-raid,” Sainz commented. “I’ve been on 14 Dakars and I’ve never been lost two days and lost half an hour in each one, nor have I seen everyone lost. This isn’t the Dakar. This is becoming more of a gymkhana than a rally. What we have seen so far is not a rally… I just don’t like it. It’s more like a lottery, this is not rallying. I’m really fed up”, Sainz commented.

Tomorrow, competitors are bracing for a marathon day with giant sand dunes awaiting.

General standings as of today:

POS. EXP. DRIVE-TEAM MARK-MODEL TIME VARIATION PENALITY
1 3
(AUS) TOBY PRICE
RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 24H 08′ 43”
2 47 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021 24H 10′ 59” + 00H 02′ 16” 00H 02′ 00”
3 4 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021 24H 11′ 40” + 00H 02′ 57”
4 18 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 24H 12′ 24” + 00H 03′ 41” 00H 01′ 00”
5 12 HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING 24H 12′ 24” + 00H 03′ 41”
6 5 RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 24H 13′ 06” + 00H 04′ 23”
7 88 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021 24H 15′ 08” + 00H 06′ 25”
8 15 SHERCO FACTORY 24H 22′ 29” + 00H 13′ 46”
9 9 BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM 24H 23′ 55” + 00H 15′ 12” 00H 06′ 00”
10 2 ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING 24H 23′ 56” + 00H 15′ 13”
11 77 ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING 24H 25′ 05” + 00H 16′ 22” 00H 01′ 00”
12 21 KTM FACTORY TEAM 24H 26′ 44” + 00H 18′ 01” 00H 07′ 00”
13 1 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021 24H 28′ 39” + 00H 19′ 56”
14 11 SLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM 24H 34′ 13” + 00H 25′ 30”
15 42 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 24H 43′ 30” + 00H 34′ 47”
16 6 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 24H 52′ 53” + 00H 44′ 10”
17 27 HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY 24H 53′ 44” + 00H 45′ 01” 00H 02′ 00”
18 31 ORION – MOTO RACING GROUP 24H 57′ 05” + 00H 48′ 22” 00H 02′ 00”
19 22 ORLEN TEAM 25H 15′ 35” + 01H 06′ 52” 00H 02′ 00”
20 74 FN SPEED – KTM TEAM 25H 31′ 10” + 01H 22′ 27” 00H 05′ 00”

Featured image: Dakar.com

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