Hard day on SS9 Dakar restart for Monster Energy Honda Team
|Back to the action after the rest day, the Dakar Rally entered its last week in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. Stage number nine made the connection between Riyadh and Haradh, with a special stage of 359 kilometers and a liaison of 328 km. Wadis, canyons and dunes were the ingredients of a day where navigation was once again a key factor of success.
Monster Energy Honda Team had a hard day but keeps a strong position in the top ten. Jose Ignacio Cornejo, who is doing here his seventh Dakar, was today the fastest one of the squad. He finished in fifth place (6:12 minutes gap to the leader) and managed to climb some steps in the overall standings, where he sits now in eighth position. On his eighth Dakar Rally, Adrien Van Beveren reached Haradh in the 14th position (15:48 minutes gap to the leader) but did not compromise his ranking in the overall standings (4th place). Pablo Quintanilla is the most experienced of the team, he started the Dakar Rally back in 2013 and was second last year. He finished today’s stage in 18th position (18:36 minutes gap to the leader) and will start stage number 10 in the 5th place of the overall standings.
Tomorrow is time to move in the direction of Shaybah to race the 10th stage of the race. This selective section has been kept deliberately short – just 114 kilometers – as an approach into the bowels of the Empty Quarter. A long liaison (508 km) will take up most of the day, so this true appetizer will be mainly composed of the local delicacy: sand.