At the finishing line on special number 11, Kevin Benavides has achieved the best time, 4'' ahead of Sam Sunderland, 2'26'' in front of Hero’s Joaquim Rodrigues and 4'54'' ahead of Matthias Walkner. Pablo Quintanilla has finished in 6th place, 7'40'' behind the winner, Adrien Van Beveren in 12th place, 21'33'' behind and Joan Barreda in 16th place 25'10'' behind. Toby Price, who opened this morning, completed the stage in 18th, 30'47'' behind the Argentinean. In the general rankings on the eve of the finish, Sam Sunderland is the new leader of the Dakar with an advantage of 6'52'' over Quintanilla and 7'15'' over Walkner. VBA is in 4th position, 15’30’’ behind his brother-in-law and Barreda occupies 5th place, 27'54'' behind the British rider. A GasGas, a Honda and a KTM are within a time bracket of scarcely more than 7 minutes. A little more than a quarter of an hour down, the official Yamaha rider will start the last 164-km long special in 15th position, while the three riders in front of him in the overall classification will start grouped in the top 6. It is far from over yet regarding final victory or for the podium… The last stage of the 44th edition of the Dakar will be decisive!
Toby Price, Luciano Benavides, Joan Barreda and Adrien Van Beveren, who started the special in that order this morning, are all outside the top 20 after 257 km. VBA is 19'24'' behind the best time with “Bang Bang” Barreda trailing by 19'52''. Price, the first to start, is more than 25 minutes behind the current stage leader. VBA, this morning’s general rankings leader, is doing slightly better than the rest, equal with Barreda having started afterwards. The navigation must be complicated today for so many of the openers to have come unstuck. It will be interesting to hear what they have to say after the stage.
Rally GP rider Martin Michek has encountered a mechanical problem after the second check point. After his 10th placed finish yesterday, he occupied 18th position in the general rankings and was the 5th best privateer in the classification. It is a tough blow for the leader of the Czech contingent who finished 10th on the Dakar 2021 and 23rd the previous year on his first participation. The Orion-Moto Racing Group rider achieved three top ten finishes this year.
Sam Sunderland still has the best time after 214 km. Matthias Walkner is in 4th place, 4'44'' behind the stage leader and Quintanilla is in 7th place, 7'17'' behind the Englishman. Joan Barreda has dropped down into 15th place, 19'19'' behind Sunderland and VBA is in 17th position, 18'41'' his British brother-in-law. In the virtual general rankings, Sunderland still leads the Dakar, ahead of Walkner and Quintanilla.