Today’s 375km Sakaka-Neom stage has claimed two withdrawals, Argentinean Caimi Franco (Yamaha) and Xavier du Soultrait (Husqvarna), leaving Yamaha with just Ross Branch and Adrien van Beveren fighting for the top positions. Du Soultrait suffered a bad crash today and had to be airlifted to a hospital for X-Rays.

Chilean Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) won the stage today after catching up with Toby Price and gaining a lead of a minute over the former Dakar champion; Price came in second with Ricky Brabec third, placing Brabec 6th overall.

“I started second, behind Ricky, my team-mate. He was pushing super hard at the beginning. I was pushing hard too but didn’t catch him, I caught him maybe a just a little bit before refuelling. I think we rode at a very good speed today. There were no navigation mistakes. There were some tricky parts, but we found the way and didn’t make any mistakes and that’s where we gained a lot of time. On the second part, we switched a little bit for which one was opening, but it was a nice stage – pretty fast but in the end, some very nice landscapes: these huge rocky mountains are just amazing, so I’m happy to be riding here. With four days to go the plan is the same as it is now: try to ride as fast as we can, don’t get lost, don’t crash, and take care of the bike, so I think that if we keep the same focus that I’ve been bringing on this race or on this last couple of days I can do pretty good. We’re very focused, but now is the time to rest and think about tomorrow’s stage”, Cornejo said.

Tomorrow, competitors are facing a loop stage around Neom on the shores of the Red Sea with a 465km special.

Today’s stage rankings:

1 4 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021 03H 08′ 40”
2 3
RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 03H 09′ 45” + 00H 01′ 05”
3 1 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021 03H 11′ 30” + 00H 02′ 50”
4 5 RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 03H 12′ 26” + 00H 03′ 46”
5 47 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021 03H 14′ 09” + 00H 05′ 29”
6 88 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2021 03H 14′ 27” + 00H 05′ 47”
7 21 KTM FACTORY TEAM 03H 15′ 09” + 00H 06′ 29”
8 52 RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 03H 15′ 12” + 00H 06′ 32”
9 9 BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM 03H 15′ 33” + 00H 06′ 53”
10 24 HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY 03H 16′ 38” + 00H 07′ 58”
11 18 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 03H 17′ 58” + 00H 09′ 18”
12 15 SHERCO FACTORY 03H 18′ 13” + 00H 09′ 33”
13 42 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 03H 21′ 28” + 00H 12′ 48”
14 11 SLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM 03H 21′ 30” + 00H 12′ 50”

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