It was a Honda clean sweep on stage 9 of the 2021 Dakar Rally with Kevin Benavides, Ricky Brabec and Nacho Cornejo filling the top three spots while Aussie Toby Price was the big name casualty for the stage.
Unfortunately, while pushing hard, right at the front of the field, Price suffered a fall around the 155-kilometer mark and required medical attention. Airlifted to the hospital in Tabuk, and confirmed to have suffered a broken collarbone, the two-time Dakar winner will sadly play no further part in this year‰Ûªs event.
In better news for Australia Daniel Sanders carded another top ten with 9th on the stage an moved up to 6th overall.
Featuring a loop stage starting and finishing at the coastal city of Neom stage 9 covered a total distance of 579km, riders faced a 109km liaison that led into the 465km timed special. A mixture of fast gravel tracks and sandy valleys proved to be a huge challenge to all competitors as they made their way through the stage.
Following his stage win Kevin Benavides now occupies second place in the general standings, 11‰Ûª24‰Ûª‰Ûª behind Nacho Cornejo and pursued by Sam Sunderland in third.
‰ÛÏJust now I‰Ûªve received the news that my brother crashed, so I am so disappointed with that and I hope he is ok," Benavides said. "Also, today was a special day for me, one year on from Paulo‰Û_ So, I tried to push all day, to stay focused, to keep the speed up and not make mistakes. So, I think it was a good stage. Nacho did a good job. At the end I heard Toby also crashed, so it was a really dangerous day today. I am happy to be here okay and so is the bike. We have three more days to go and to continue fighting. We have a lot of kilometres left, so I think the strategy is to continue to be focused because everything can change in one second. For me, I'll take it day by day‰Û