TUESDAY UPDATE from stage 8 – according to Brabec’s social media feeds, the American’s engine failed, causing a DNF.For the second time so far in 2019 Dakar Rally – the shortest on record with only 10 stages – America’s Ricky Brabec has claimed the overall lead.
The Monster Energy Honda Team CRF450 Rally pilot finished third during Monday’s stage seven. But his strong finishes placed him first overall as he hopes to become the first American winner at Dakar.Claiming the stage-seven win was Red Bull KTM Factory Team’s Sam Sunderland. The 2017 Dakar Rally winner was followed 1:51 minutes back by Monster Energy Honda Team’s Jose Cornejo.Brabec finished 6:30 minutes behind Sunderland after the stage that took 240 miles with 200 of those timed. The stage was a loop around San Juan de Marcona that presented many navigational issues for riders.Ahead of Tuesday’s “Super-Ica” – the longest and most grueling stage of 2019 Dakar Rally that features a 225-mile timed special – Brabec is 7:47 minutes ahead of Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Adrien Van Beveren in the overall standings.KTM’s Toby Price – the 2016 Dakar Rally winner – is third, 8:28 behind.“I feel good. I need the day to go well,” Ricky Brabec says. “I knew I had messed up a bit yesterday. Tomorrow is going to be hard to maintain the gap. The day was more my style like where I live.“It was fun and comfortable. We were all riding together and enjoying it. Tomorrow I didn’t want to have to open. So it’s good that people finished in front of me. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.”As for America’s Andrew Short, the former Supercross rider turned Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Rally rider is ninth overall, just over 39 minutes behind Brabec.Tuesday’s stage eight is longest special, taking riders a total of 358 miles to Pisco with 225 of those timed.