Stage 8San Juan de Marcona - Pisco

  • Brabec Retires as the Team Focuses on Remaining Stages

    Race leader Ricky Brabec was forced to retire from the 2019 Dakar Rally due to mechanical issues in Stage 8.

Report

Brabec Retires as the Team Focuses on Remaining Stages

January 15, 2019


DAKAR RALLY 2019 - Stage 8

DAKAR RALLY 2019 - Behind the Scene Stage 8

Stage 8 of the 2019 Dakar was unfortunate for the Monster Energy Honda Team. The overall leading American rider Ricky Brabec was forced out of the race, despite his strong and consistent riding up to this point.

January 15: The rally led competitors back to Pisco from the bivouac of San Juan de Marcona over a total of 575km with yet another long 360km special stage. This area was also used in earlier stages of the rally but was set in a totally different format. The soft sand unique to Peru, and the scorching heat of over 40 degrees also made it a demanding stage for the riders. The starting style was another factor that caused confusion. Usually the bike, car and truck categories start off each in order, but today, the top 10 competitors from each category started together.

Due to a mechanical problem that occurred on yesterday's stage-winning Sam Sanderland's KTM, Monster Energy Honda Team's José Ignacio Cornejo started from first position and opened the track. He managed to maintain the lead for most of the Special only letting Stephane Peterhansel's Mini, currently 8th in the car category, overtake him for a few kelometers before getting stuck in the dunes. It was such a smooth and successful day for Cornejo, it could be said that this was the only drama for the young Chilean rider in this stage.

Starting 3 minutes behind Cornejo, Ricky Brabec ran into hard luck. He had rode fast and consistently in previous stages, building his overall lead to nearly 8 minutes, and was determined to widen the gap further. However, the engine of his CRF450 RALLY stopped shortly after Way-point 1 and he was not able to rejoin the race.

“It is a great shame, but I was able to put in a strong performance up to this stage. I shall return to the Dakar with even more motivation next year,” said Brabec after his retirement from the 2019 edition was clear.

Because of the combined start, it was 1 hour 21 minutes later by the time Kevin Benavides left the start line. 16 minutes and 15 seconds off the overall leader, Benavides considered this stage to be the one to fight hard and regain his position on the leaderboard. He charged from the start to accomplish his aim, but was in trouble when his GPS equipment provided by the organizers could not validate a way-point. Benavides repeatedly approached the correct point but lost many minutes by the time the GPS finally responded. His final result was 8th position, 14th overall.

Two more stages remain in the 2019 Dakar. Tomorrow's Stage 9 is another loop stage, set around Pisco with a motocross-style start. The total distance is 409km with 313km against the clock. As the final 10th stage will only be a 112km run, Stage 9 sure to be the highlight of the 2019 edition.

 

Comments

José Ignacio Cornejo, Stage: 7th Overall: 8th

It was a long but good day where I opened most of the Special stage. In a combined situation of sand, off-piste and desert it was difficult to open the track but it was a good experience for me and it's sure to help me in the future. Not everyone gets to open the track, and I think I've learnt a lot today. It was an unfortunate day for Ricky [Brabec], it's a pity since he was doing so well. His pace and consistency were impressive and encouraged the whole team. Now we'll just have to fight the remaining days between the two of us. Still, anything can happen.

Kevin Benavides, Stage: 8th Overall: 14th

I had trouble trying to validate a way-point today. Although it wasn't a visible one, it was positioned just at the bottom of the mountain where we approached the beach. I was at the point but the GPS system didn't respond. I was sure I was at the correct point and approached that point many times trying to validate it but the way-point simply wouldn't open and I wasn't able to proceed. I stopped Joaquim Rodrigues who had already validated the way-point and located the same place but it still wouldn't open. Many riders passed by and finally I stopped Michael Metge and asked him if I could follow him through the way-point. The GPS responded in the end and I was able to validate the way-point but it was at the point I had passed a thousand times before. The organizers know that I was at the correct point and had trouble with the GPS, so we'll just have to see what their conclusion will be. It was a pity about the overall leader Ricky [Brabec], we could have had a great battle to the goal line together. I send him all my best.

Ricky Brabec, Stage: DNF Overall: DNF

The only positive thing today was the cool helicopter ride along the beach. It was heart-wrenching and not easy to accept the situation. I don't know what to say. I will go home, have a rest, and come back to the Dakar. It was a great experience to be the overall leader in previous stages. I was happy with the support the team gave me, and it was a good atmosphere all the way. I knew the team trusted in me and that's what helped me to be successive up to today.

Taichi Honda, Monster Energy Honda Team Rally Large Project Leader

It was an unfortunate day for the team. Overall leader Brabec was forced out of the race. He had fought the rally perfectly up to yesterday and he was pushing forward with a good pace today, intending to widen his advantage. The bike hasn't yet returned to the bevauc so we don't know what went wrong, but we shall assess it and make sure that the same trouble won't happen to Benavides or Cornejo. Only two more stages to go. We will do our best to support Benavides and Cornejo to finish the race safely while gaining as many positions as possible. The Monster Energy Honda Team appreciates your support.

Results

Dakar Rally 2019 Stage 8

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Matthias Walkner (RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM)
2 Pablo Quintanilla (ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING)
3 Toby Price (RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM)
4 Andrew Short (ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING)
5 Adrien Van Beveren (YAMALUBE YAMAHA OFFICIAL RALLY TEAM)
6 Luciano Benavides (RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM)
7 José Ignacio Cornejo (MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM)
8 Kevin Benavides (MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM)
13 Daniel Nosiglia (MEC HRC)

Overall

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Toby Price (RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM)
2 Pablo Quintanilla (ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING)
3 Matthias Walkner (RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM)
4 Adrien Van Beveren (YAMALUBE YAMAHA OFFICIAL RALLY TEAM)
5 Andrew Short (ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING)
6 Xavier de Soultrait (YAMALUBE YAMAHA OFFICIAL RALLY TEAM)
8 José Ignacio Cornejo (MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM)
11 Daniel Nosiglia (MEC HRC)
14 Kevin Benavides (MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM)

Photos