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Heartbreak in Neom for Price, Jones, Quintero as Cornejo and Peterhansel Continue to Lead 2021 Dakar Rally

Toby Price’s goal of a third Dakar Rally win, or at least a sixth podium finish, ended with a helicopter ride to the hospital today, as the Red Bull KTM rider suffered a bad crash during the Stage 9 Neom loop. The Australian rider, who survived the Marathon stage with a tire held together by zip ties, injured his left arm and shoulder in the fall, and is receiving treatment in a hospital in Tabuk.

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#04 Cornejo Florimo Jose Ignacio (chl), Honda, Monster Energy Honda Team 2021, Motul, Moto, Bike, action during the 9th stage of the Dakar 2021 between Neom and Neom, in Saudi Arabia on January 12, 2021 – Photo Julien Delfosse / DPPI

That opens the door for Nacho Cornejo, who remains more than 11 minutes atop the motorcycle time charts in spite of second place Kevin Benavides’ stage win today. Sam Sunderland and Ricky Brabec are third and fourth overall, each receiving time credits from race officials for staying with Price after his fall to wait for the medical team to arrive. Brabec, Cornejo, and Sunderland were second through fourth on stage after the adjustments, with 2018 winner Matthias Walkner completing the top five.

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#383 Quintero Seth (usa), Zenz Dennis (deu), OT3, Red Bull Off-Road Team USA, Light Weight Vehicles Prototype – T3, action during the 9th stage of the Dakar 2021 between Neom and Neom, in Saudi Arabia on January 12, 2021 – Photo Julien Delfosse / DPPI

It was a frustrating day for American UTV racers Austin Jones and Seth Quintero as well, although their struggles were both mechanically inclined. Jones lost more than half an hour on stage to yield both the T4 and overall SSV leads to 2019 winner Chaleco Lopez, whose streak of stage victories continues with another win today. Quintero had been atop the T3 standings, and second among all UTVs, before breaking down 210 kilometers into today’s 456 kilometer loop.

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#300 Sainz Carlos (esp), Cruz Lucas (esp), Mini, X-Raid Mini JCW Team, Auto, action during the 9th stage of the Dakar 2021 between Neom and Neom, in Saudi Arabia on January 12, 2021 – Photo Julien Delfosse / DPPI

In the car class, Stephane Peterhansel and Nasser Al-Attiyah finished first and second on stage, with Peterhansel adding 12 minutes to his overall lead with just three stages remaining. Surprisingly, it was just the first stage win of the year for the consistent Frenchman, who seeks his record 14th career Dakar victory and eighth in a car. Mathieu Serradori had appeared set to take the win before breaking down at the 385 kilometer mark, while defending winner Carlos Sainz gave up more time after stopping to fix a brake issue.

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507 Sotnikov Dmitry (rus), Akhmadeev Ruslan (rus), Akhmatzianov Ilgiz (rus), Kamaz, Kamaz – Master, Camion, Truck, action during the 9th stage of the Dakar 2021 between Neom and Neom, in Saudi Arabia on January 12, 2021 – Photo Frederic Le Floc’h / DPPI

Giovanni Enrico took another stage win in the quads to make a small dent in Manuel Andujar’s overall lead, but Andujar remains 20 minutes clear of his closest competition in the overall battle. Martin Macik’s consistency paid off with a stage win today in the trucks, although third place stage finisher Dmitry Sotnikov remains firmly in control of the class. So, too, does Marc Douton, who finished second in the Dakar Classic stage to Kilian Revuelta for the second day in a row.

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#154 Andujar Manuel (arg), Yamaha, 7240 Team, Quad, action during the 9th stage of the Dakar 2021 between Neom and Neom, in Saudi Arabia on January 12, 2021 – Photo Julien Delfosse / DPPI

Wednesday’s Stage 10 takes racers from Neom to AlUla, with a ratio of 342 kilometers of special stages to 241 kilometers of transit. Coverage of the past two stages will air on NBCSN tonight at 6PM ET/3PM PT, with today’s footage airing as always at the bottom half of the hour.

2021 Dakar Rally Stage 9 Winners

  • Motorcycle: Kevin Benavides, 4:49:15
  • Quad: Giovanni Enrico, 6:24:41
  • Car: Stephane Peterhansel, 4:50:27
  • Lightweight Prototype: Cristina Gutierrez Herrero, 6:17:40
  • SSV: Chaleco Lopez, 5:31:41
  • Truck: Martin Macik, 5:05:54
  • Classic: Kilian Revuelta, 69 points

2021 Dakar Rally Overall Rankings

ClassMotorcycleQuadCarLightweight/SSVTruck
1stJ. I. Cornejo FlorimoM. AndujarS. PeterhanselF. Lopez ContardoD. Sotnikov
2ndK. BenavidesA. GiroudN. Al-AttiyahA. JonesA. Shibalov
3rdS. SunderlandG. EnricoC. SainzA. DomzalaA. Mardeev
4thR. BrabecP. CopettiJ. PrzygonskiM. GoczalA. Loprais
5thJ. Barreda BortI. PedemonteN. RomaR. VarelaM. Macik
Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.