Just ahead of the only rest day of 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia, America’s Ricky Brabec has kept the overall lead.
The Californian only finished fourth Thursday in stage five of 2020 Dakar Rally, but returned to the top Friday.
Though he received much pressure during stage six from teammate Joan Barreda on the factory Monster Energy Honda Team CRF450R Rally and KTM Factory Racing Team’s Matthias Walkner, Brabec earned his second stage win.
Brabec completed the 515-mile stage that included a 296-mile special by 1:34 ahead of Barreda, and 2:45 ahead of Barreda.
With his win, he entered Saturday’s rest day with a 20:56-minute lead over Husqvarna Factory Racing Team’s Pablo Quintanilla, and 25:39 ahead of the reigning Dakar Rally Champion, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team’s Toby Price, who won last year’s rally while riding with a broken wrist.
The stage started from Ha’il bound for Riyadh, providing competitors the ideal opportunity to unleash their machines on the open Saudi desert. The final day of the first week of racing saw riders face arduous navigation, off-piste and copious amounts of sand and dunes.
“The day was good,” Ricky Brabec says. “I didn’t really have a strategy. I wanted to catch Andrew Short who started in front of me and I did just that. I rode with him all day. It was very unfortunate for Toby because he had a wheel mishap at maybe kilometer 330.
“I rode to the end and now we have a rest day and I have a 20-minute lead in the general and that’s really awesome. It’s really nice knowing that. I can’t really believe it. It’s incredible. So now we are going to get some rest and recoup and refresh and get ourselves together ready for the next six days in Saudi Arabia.
“I’m more excited that we are here in warm weather than I am at being here for the rest day. I hate being cold. I have three layers on right now but it’s warmer and I’m liking it. Nacho’s riding really well. He’s a great team-mate and a great-camper mate. The problem with Toby is going to set him on fire next week, so we have to be careful next week. Hopefully we can stay ahead of him.
“I won the stage today so I have to lead out. Hopefully I can lead out well. So we will rest and put our things together and hope for a good day.
After 1475 miles of competition within six days, the Dakar riders get to relax Saturday for their only rest day ahead of Sunday’s 460-mile stage-seven trek from to Wadi Al Dawasir.
2020 Dakar Rally Stage 6 Results
1. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 4:36:28
2. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 4:38:02 +1:34
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 4:39:13 +2:45
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna 4:41:23 +4:55
5. Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 4:41:30 +5:02
2020 Dakar Rally Overall Standings after 6 of 12 rounds
1. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 23:43:47
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 24:04:43 +20:56
3. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 24:09:26 +25:39
4. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 24:09:28 +25:41
5. Joan Barreda (ARG), Honda, 24:16:45 +32:58