Though he finished fourth during stage nine of 2020 Dakar Rally Tuesday, Monster Energy Honda’s Ricky Brabec has retained the overall lead.
Brabec finished 3:55 minutes behind the stage-nine winner, Husqvarna Factory Rally Team’s Pablo Quintanilla. KTM Factory Racing Team’s Toby Price finished second (-01:54 minutes) and Monster Energy Honda’s Joan Barreda third (-02:42).
With three stages remaining, Brabec now leads Quintanilla in the overall standings by 20:53 minutes.
Stage nine was the first of two marathon days of intense competition. Tuesday’s race was over 500 miles from Wadi Al-Dawasir camp to Haradh. It included 234-mile liaison to the start of a 255-mile special followed by another 62-mile link.
Honda says Brabec managed Tuesday’s gaps at the head of the field exceptionally well. The Honda CRF450R Rally pilot finished fourth, which rewards him with a favorable starting position during Wednesday’s marathon stage.
“We feel pretty good,” Ricky Brabec says. “We are here at a windy bivouac. We are another day closer to the American dream of winning the Dakar. There’s three days left and tomorrow is the marathon. We have a lot of racing to do. The main goal now is to focus and stay positive after the incident that happened a few days ago.
“Right now we are going to rest and make sure our bikes are 100%, get some food, pack our bags for the marathon and try to stay positive. There’s a 21-minute gap in the general. So tomorrow Quintanilla and Toby start in front of me so the plan is to maybe catch them or maybe keep them in my sights.
“That way they will start in front of me for the next few days. I’m not really sure what is going to happen so we are just going to stay focused and not lose the twenty-one minutes. The marathon stage is really cool and is very relaxing. You don’t have to see the team and it’s only the riders in the bivouac. You can really soak in the camp life, because by now it’s stage ten or eleven and it’s nearly time to go home. It’ll be nice.”
State 10 of 12 of 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia will take riders a total of 554 miles, including a 258-mile special throughout the Empty Quarter that includes the last 30+ miles in sand dunes.
2020 Dakar Rally Stage 9 Results
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 3:30:33
2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:32:27 +1:54
3. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 3:33:15 +2:42
4. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 3:34:28 +3:55
5. Ross Branch (BWA), KTM, 3:36:03 +5:30
2020 Dakar Rally Overall Standings (after nine of 12)
1. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 31:59:29
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 32:20:22 +20:53
3. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 32:26:12 +26:43
4. Joan Barreda (ARG), Honda, 32:27:45 +28:16
5. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 32:28:58 +29:29