The 2020 Dakar Rally served up a mammoth Stage 9 which had competitors on the road for nearly 900km. The trip east from Wadi Al-Dawasir to Haradh included a 415km timed special stage which saw race leaders come under severe pressure. Here is all you need to know:
- Red Bull Off-Road Team USA made it a third consecutive side-by-side stage win and also secured their first 1-2 result of the Dakar. Stage winner Blade Hildebrand was followed home a minute later by team-mate Mitch Guthrie Jr.
- Hildebrand said: “It’s always good to have those days where you can set the pace for the rest of the pack. That’s exactly what we did today.”
- In the general classification, second-placed Chaleco López trails SxS race leader Casey Currie by less than 24 minutes.
- The margins were dramatically squeezed in the car race as front runner Carlos Sainz saw his advantage significantly dented. Sainz has led the general classification since day three, but his cushion is down to a mere 24 seconds following Stage 9.
- Sainz said: “On the first part we lost a little bit of time when we lost the way – we lost five minutes or something like that. After, I don’t know what happened… the tread came off the tyre and we had to stop. It was not a good day for us.”
- Reigning car champion Nasser Al-Attiyah is the driver breathing down Sainz’s neck in second overall. Also closing in is Stéphane Peterhansel who set the fastest time today. Peterhansel stays third overall, only 6m 38s behind fellow Mini Buggy driver Sainz.
- Al-Attiyah commented: “It looks like the three cars are very close together. For all three of us, it is possible that one can win the Dakar.”
- Bike race leader Ricky Brabec was another who was reeled in as the category resumed on Stage 9. Defending champion Toby Price was the among the chasing pack who closed the gap on the way to Haradh. Price is now 26m 43s behind Brabec and has climbed to third overall.
- Price commented: “You have your good moments and you have your bad ones and unfortunately 2020 hasn’t quite been good for us but we’ll still keep giving it a good fight and see how we go.”
- Price’s fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Team riders – Matthias Walkner and Luciano Benavides – were also placed in the top 10 on Stage 9. These results keep Walkner and Benavides sixth and seventh overall respectively.
- Walkner said: “It was really not the best day for me. I didn’t feel so well already at the beginning. I struggled a bit on the rocky and stony tracks with the bike. Then it got a little bit better, but, for sure, it was not one of my best days.”
- Laia Sanz remains the highest-ranked female biker in Saudi Arabia, advancing to 17th overall after another solid stage. “I enjoyed the beginning of the stage because it was more technical. Then after the refuelling it was just flat out, full gas,” she explained.
- Andrey Karginov seems to be marching towards his second Dakar title. The Team Kamaz Master trucker picked up his fourth consecutive stage win. Karginov’s closest competitor, fellow Kamaz trucker Anton Shibalov, is nearly 40 minutes back. Two-time Silk Way Rally winner Dmitry Sotnikov has now joined his Kamaz team-mates in the Top 5 overall.
- Sotnikov said: “We finished the stage together. It was like this the whole day, we drove together with Anton Shibalov. He had a puncture at the beginning of the stage and we helped him.”
- Ignacio Casale still has control of the quad race with three stages left at the Dakar. Casale’s fourth stage win of the 2020 Dakar has stretched his lead to 45 minutes as he hunts down a third quad bike title.
- Casale commented: “I found it difficult with the wind, it slowed me down quite a bit, but I didn’t have any real problems on the stage, no falls, no mechanical issues or navigation mistakes. We’re getting a little bit nearer to the end.”
- Wednesday’s Stage 10 sees the rally head to Shubaytah on the first half of a two-part marathon stage. Competitors will be separated from their mechanics overnight and forced to make any repairs necessary themselves, and that’s after 534km of desert racing.
Top three overall in each category after Stage 9 of the 2020 Dakar Rally
- Casey Currie (USA)/Sean Berriman (USA) Can-Am 43h 51m 49s
- Chaleco Lopez/Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre (CHI) Can-Am +23m 37s
- Sergei Kariakin (RUS)/Anton Vlasiuk (RUS) Can-Am +41m 26s
- Carlos Sainz (ESP)/Lucas Cruz (ESP) MINI Buggy 35h 11m 54s
- Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota +24s
- Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) MINI Buggy +06m 38s
- Ricky Brabec (USA) Honda 31h 59m 29s
- Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna +20m 53s
- Toby Price (AUT) KTM +26m 43s
- Andrey Karginov (RUS) Kamaz 38h 05m 25s
- Anton Shibalov (RUS) Kamaz +38m 35s
- Siarhei Viazovich (BLR) Maz +01h 08m 36s
- Ignacio Casale (CHI) Yamaha 40h 52m 23s
- Simon Vitse (FRA) Yamaha +44m 57s
- Rafal Sonik (POL) Yamaha +01 h 32m 33s
Story and photos courtesy of RedBullContentPool.com