Maybe the rest day, and today’s Marathon stage, were all that defending Dakar Rally motorcycle winner Ricky Brabec needed to rejuvenate his hopes of becoming the first American to go back-to-back at the world’s premier rally raid. For the first time since the prologue that set starting positions for the 2021 edition of the event, Brabec topped the time charts at 4:37:44 on Stage 7 from Ha’il to Sakaka, allowing him to climb to eighth in the overall standings. Brabec is now within 15 minutes of new overall leader Nacho Cornejo, who took the lead of the rally from Toby Price by a single second.
In the car class, Yazeed Al Rajhi finally had something to smile about in his home Dakar, scoring his first career stage victory by nearly a minute over class leader Stephane Peterhansel. Peterhansel’s advantage for the overall is now up to more than eight minutes over Nasser Al-Attiyah, who placed fourth on the day, with defending winner Carlos Sainz third in both the daily and overall standings.
The SSV class results, meanwhile, proved that nice guys truly do finish first. Saleh Alsaif’s time of 5:20:46 was initially best of the group, but organizers subtracted 45 minutes from Chaleco Lopez’s stage time after he helped a motorcycle rider who had crashed during the stage. Cristina Gutierrez Herrero was best of the T3 lightweight prototypes at fifth in the combined running order, while T3 class leader Seth Quintero climbed up to second overall among the smaller vehicles with a seventh place stage finish (second in T3). He’s within nine minutes of overall leader Aron Domzala as the two lightweight divisions duel it out.
Heartbreak for Nicolas Cavigliasso turned the quad class on its head today, as the incoming overall leader withdrew with a clutch failure under 100 kilometers from the finish. Manuel Andujar inherited the overall lead with today’s stage victory, and has more than 20 minutes on second place Alexandre Giroud. Kamaz continues to dominate the truck class as Dmitry Sotnikov won today’s stage over Airat Mardeev and Anton Shibalov, with the latter two flipped in the overall rankings. Finally, Marc Douton returned to his winning ways in the Dakar Classic class with just 19 points, the lowest score of any stage so far.
Monday’s Stage 8 takes competitors from Sakaka to Neom, with a nearly even split of 375 kilometers of special stages and 334 more of transit. At that point, racers will be able to rejoin the bivouac and receive further assistance on their vehicles. Regular coverage of the 2021 Dakar Rally airs on NBCSN at 6PM ET/3PM PT, with the current day’s action airing at the bottom of the hour.
2021 Dakar Rally Stage 7 Winners
- Motorcycle: Ricky Brabec, 4:37:44
- Quad: Manuel Andujar, 5:57:40
- Car: Yazeed Al Rajhi, 4:21:59
- Lightweight Prototype: Cristina Gutierrez Herrero, 5:25:41
- SSV: Chaleco Lopez, 5:15:34
- Truck: Dmitry Sotnikov, 4:45:52
- Classic: Marc Douton, 19 points
2021 Dakar Rally Overall Rankings
|1st||J. I. Cornejo Florimo||M. Andujar||S. Peterhansel||A. Domzala||D. Sotnikov|
|2nd||T. Price||A. Giroud||N. Al-Attiyah||S. Quintero||A. Shibalov|
|3rd||S. Sunderland||G. Enrico||C. Sainz||A. Jones||A. Mardeev|
|4th||X. de Soultrait||I. Pedemonte||J. Przygonski||F. Lopez Contardo||A. Loprais|
|5th||K. Benavides||P. Copetti||N. Roma||M. Goczal||M. Macik|