The Dakar Rally is synonymous with drama and every year delivers unique stories. Today the marathon stage was held where participants cannot receive assistance from their teams and must repair their vehicles themselves. Ross Branch He started fighting the lead on motorcycles, but suffered an accident that left him without a chance and after seeing his damaged motorcycle he broke down in tears, although he was able to continue. The Botswana was in the seventh set of the toughest race in the world that is run in Saudi Arabia and where an Argentine, Manuel Andújar, jumped to the top in ATVs.
On board his Yamaha, Branch was one of the surprises on two wheels since in his third participation he was measured with the fastest. He was the reference in this Sunday’s stage where he was fourth in the general classification and second behind the Spanish Joan Barreda Bort (Honda) that paved the way. However, after 31 kilometers, he crashed after stepping on a stone and the chain came off his WR450F Rally.
In addition to the roll in the sand, some blow from the fall, the real pain was when he saw the damage to his motorcycle. Added to the time he lost and the knife that stabbed into his soul when he knew that he would no longer have a chance to fight for victory. That is why she broke down in tears. However, this competition also delivers anecdotes where competitors overcome problems. They themselves overlap and that is why the psychological factor is key. The African himself repaired his motorcycle and moved on.
Branch showed a frank rise in the Dakar Rally. He was the best debutant in 2019 when he finished 13th and last year he was 21st, but he won a stage. Already in the camp, not being able to have the help of his mechanics, he had to check that his motorcycle has no more breaks and do the proper maintenance.
He lost 31 minutes to the leaders and that gap widened to 42 minutes when he finished 27th on the stage. In the general classification he is 15th in more than 40 minutes, where the Chilean José Ignacio Cornejo (Sling). Salteño is fifth in this category Kevin Benavides (Sling). His brother Luciano (Husqvarna) is 10th and Franco Caimi (Yamaha) is 17th.
Known as Monsieur Dakar for being the most winner in history with 13 successes (6 in motorcycles and 7 in cars), Stephane Peterhansel (MINI) is looking for another celebration to expand its legend. The Frenchman, in the car category, leads the general classification after being second in this Sunday’s stage behind the Saudi Yazeed Al Rajhi (Toyota). In the spatiality today the Mendoza Juan Cruz Yacopini (Toyota) was 33rd.
Argentine leadership and other compatriots
Manuel Andújar (Yamaha) is the new leader in quadricycles after the mechanical problems that another Argentine had, Nicolás Cavigliasso (Yamaha). The Lobos rider, who was 29th in 2018, fifth in 2019 and fourth in 2020, today won the stage and climbed to the top of the aggregate in the specialty. So far, since not all the competitors arrived, another compatriot, Pablo Copetti (Yamaha), is fifth in the classification.
In Side by Side (UTV, sandbox type vehicles), the Chaco Juan Manuel Silva, who is a Spanish navigator Gael Queralt (Can-Am), they finished 16th in the partial and are 18th in the general classification.
Tomorrow the second and last week of the 2021 Dakar Rally will be entered. It will be the turn of the eighth stage that will join Sakaka with Neom, with 375 timed kilometers and 709 connecting kilometers. Then there will be four days of competition.
I kept reading
Kevin Benavides overcame an accident, won the fifth stage of the Dakar and leads the general motorcycle classification
Hubert Auriol, former Dakar Rally director, passes away