The motorcycle class of the Dakar Rally has been a seesaw affair through seven stages, but Ricky Brabec seemed poised to win the class for the USA. Until he blew an engine in Stage 8 that is – and gave up a more-than seven second lead. He was the second rider to retire after starting the stage as the leader. Joan Barreda retired in Stage 3.
Brabec was looking to become the first American rider to win in 27 years, but his fate was eerily similar to last year. Three days from the end of the stage, he retired about 50 kilometers into the stage, which is precisely when and where he retired in 2018.
With Brabec’s trouble, Toby Price leapfrogged from third to second in class despite riding with a metal pin in his wrist. In the world’s most grueling endurance event, it has never been more obvious that it isn’t over till it’s over.
Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to run a consistent rally. With a 46 minute advantage over Nani Roma and Sebastien Loeb, all he needs to do is stay error free for the final two stages to win his third Dakar.
Here are some of the other highlights:
In the cars class, Sebastien Loeb scored his fifth stage win of the Rally by seven minutes over Nasser Al-Attiyah, but problems in Stage 3 have kept him from being competitive for the overall lead. … Jakub Przygonski earned his third podium of the Rally. All of these have been third-place finishes.
Class Leaders: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 46:29 over Roma and 46:45 over Loeb.
In motorcycles, Ricky Brabec’s blown engine opened up the class once more. … Matthias Walkner narrowly edged Pablo Quintanilla by 45 seconds. … But it was Toby Price’s third-place finish that helped elevate him to the class lead. … Sam Sunderland was supposed to blaze the path for the riders, but a malfunctioning navigation system kept him from rolling off first. Blazing the trail is a disadvantage and officials adjudged him to have tampered with his system to avoid that fate. Sunderland was penalized an hour to finish 35th on the stage. He dropped to ninth in class.
Class Leaders: Price inherited the lead over Quintanilla by 1:03 and 6:35 over Walkner
In side by sides, Francisco Lopez Contardo scored the victory over Cristian Baumgart by 4:47. … Gerard Farres Guell rounded out the top three.
Class Leaders: Contardo holds an advantage 0f 54:10 over Rodrigo Piazolli and one hour, 08:09 over Guell
In quads, there was no surprise in Nicolas Cavigliasso winning his seventh stage of the season. … He padded his overall advantage over Gustavo Gallego by more than nine minutes. … Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli finished third.
Class Leaders: Cavigliasso holds and advantage of one hour, 24:52 over Ferioli and one hour, 44:04 over Gallego
In trucks, Dmitry Sotnikov won the stage to take over the class lead. He beat Ton Van Genugten by 22:01. … Siarhei Viazovich rounded out the top three. … Eduard Nikolaev lost the class lead by finishing eighth – nearly one hour behind Sotnikov.
Class Leaders: Sotnikov holds an advantage of 26:49 over and one hour, 7:43 over Gerard de Rooy
Sam Sunderland  (Stage 5 and 7), Matthias Walkner  (Stage 2 and 8), Joan Barreda  (Stage 1), Xavier de Soultrait  (Stage 3), Ricky Brabec  (Stage 4) and Pablo Quintanilla  (Stage 6)
Nicolas Cavigliasso  (Stage 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) and Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli  (Stage 3)
Sebastien Loeb  (Stage 2, 5, 6 and 8), Nasser Al-Attiyah  (Stage 1 and 4) and Stephane Peterhansel  (Stage 3 and 7)
Francisco Lopez Contardo  (Stage 2, 6, 7 and 8), Reinaldo Varela  (Stage 1), Gerard Farres Guell  (Stage 3), Sergei Kariakin  (Stage 4) and Rodrigo Piazzoli  (Stage 5)
Eduard Nikolaev  (Stage 1, 2 and 5), Andrey Karginov  (Stage 3 and 4), Dmitry Sotnikov  (Stage 6 and 8) and Gerard de Rooy  (Stage 7)
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