Dakar 2021 Stage 6 special from Al Qaisumah to Ha’il was shortened from 448km to 348km, and the start was delayed by almost two hours today. Yesterday, riders complained that the stage had been extremely difficult, as have car and SSV pilots. Because of this, the ASO decided to cut Stage 6 short.
“Due to the difficulties encountered in finishing stage 5 by a significant number of competitors, the decision has been taken to delay the departure of the riders and crews from the bivouac in Al Qaisumah by 1 hour 30 minutes. The route of the special on stage 6 has therefore been shortened by one hundred kilometers in order to make the program less tough. However, competitors will still have to tackle sand and dunes. Though navigational skills will again play a decisive role in the outcome of this special, the riders’ and drivers’ physical capacities will also be sorely tested, demanding a considerable effort from them. After that, they will fully deserve the rest day that will take place in Ha’il”, the official ASO statement read.
After yesterday’s stage, several riders have withdrawn from the race. Yamaha rider Jamie McCanney had to throw in the towel because of a technical problem, and rookies Mohammed Jaffar, Lorenzo Piolini, and Davide Caminardi also did not line up at the start line this morning.
Honda rider Joan Barreda won the stage today with Botswanan Ross Branch (Yamaha) coming in second and rookie Daniel Sanders (KTM) placing third. Ricky Brabec came in fourth today, placing him 13th overall. American privateer Skyler Howes came in 19th, placing him 9th overall.
“I won! I was trying after refueling to keep the pace down, but finally, I won by a few seconds. With a race like this, I don’t know if it’s a good strategy. But it’s like this… Now we have one day for rest and we will try to recover as much as possible for next week. It was such a difficult few days with lots of navigation. It’s something new for me with this kind of navigation. With already a lot of years’ experience on the rally, I’ve seen a fair bit of navigation before, but this is completely different to what I know. Now we have a better feeling with it and I will try to do better for the next week. Yesterday and before yesterday, we had to use one tire for the second day, worn almost halfway down but it was good. Now we still have three more tires we can use for next week. I’m happy and I’m really proud of how this week went. It has been a strategic race for the first week, and I haven’t had the best way. Sometimes it’s difficult because you are in one position and you can’t do so much, but it’s like this. We still have a lot of kilometers left in front of us. We’ll try to keep safe next week and do a good job. I’m really happy because up to now I’ve kept safe with the bike, had no crashes and I’m feeling really strong, so I’ll try to carry on next week like this”, Barreda said after today’s stage.
Ricky Brabec hopes to recover and ride strategically for the remaining days of the rally. “I made it to rest day with solid tires ready for next week. The boys are keeping me in the best shape possible with the situations we put ourselves into. Not where we wanted to be at rest day, but we do have 6 days left, so let’s hope to stay focused”, Brabec commented.
These are today’s stage rankings:
(ESP) JOAN BARREDA BORT
|MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||03H 45′ 27”|
(BWA) ROSS BRANCH
|MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM||03H 45′ 40”|
(AUS) DANIEL SANDERS
|KTM FACTORY TEAM||03H 46′ 20”|
(USA) RICKY BRABEC
|MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||03H 47′ 51”|
(AUT) MATTHIAS WALKNER
|RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||03H 48′ 41”|
(FRA) ADRIEN VAN BEVEREN
|MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM||03H 49′ 00”|
(AUS) TOBY PRICE
|RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||03H 49′ 21”|
(PRT) JOAQUIM RODRIGUES
|HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY||03H 50′ 02”|
(GBR) SAM SUNDERLAND
|RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||03H 51′ 21”|
(CHL) PABLO QUINTANILLA
|ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING||03H 51′ 55”|
|11||4||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||03H 52′ 19”|
(ARG) FRANCO CAIMI
|MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM||03H 53′ 20”|
(FRA) XAVIER DE SOULTRAIT
|HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING||03H 54′ 14”|
(ARG) LUCIANO BENAVIDES
|ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING||03H 54′ 56”|
(ARG) KEVIN BENAVIDES
|MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021||03H 55′ 20”|
(CZE) MARTIN MICHEK
|ORION – MOTO RACING GROUP||03H 55′ 55”|
(ESP) LORENZO SANTOLINO
|SHERCO FACTORY||03H 57′ 19”|
(SVK) STEFAN SVITKO
|SLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM||03H 57′ 30”|
(USA) SKYLER HOWES
|BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM||03H 57′ 31”|
(ESP) JAUME BETRIU
|FN SPEED – KTM TEAM||03H 59′ 38”|
Featured image: Dakar.com