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Dakar Stage 11: Quintanilla gains time with stage win while Brabec maintains overall lead

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Dakar Stage 11: Quintanilla gains time with stage win while Brabec maintains overall lead
Pablo Quintanilla did all he could to by winning the stage but still sits fourteen minutes behind Ricky Brabec in the overall with one day remaining. Photo: DPPI
Pablo Quintanilla has stormed to victory on the penultimate stage of the Dakar Rally while Ricky Brabec still maintains the overall lead despite dropping time on the stage.

As the ninth rider into the special, Quintanilla was able to gain close to 12 minutes on the provisional rally leader Brabec. Matthias Walkner finished less than ten seconds back from Quintanilla while Luciano Benavides rounded out the top three. Jose Ignacio Cornejo and Toby Price completed the top five. Brabec finished tenth on stage dropping just short of twelve minutes but still maintains an almost fourteen minute lead.

Stage 11 of the Dakar marked the second half of the event‰Ûªs marathon stage. After camping out in a temporary bivouac at Shubaytah the night before, riders entered today‰Ûªs special running the same tyres and having carried out the minimum of maintenance due to no outside assistance being permitted overnight.

Featuring a mixture of sandy terrains, competitors were presented with a fast but demanding 379-kilometre timed special for stage 11. With less technical navigation, the real challenge for all was managing fuel levels, with the soft sand causing many to come close to running out by mid-stage.


Pablo Quintanilla immediately made the most of his later start position to attack right from the flag. Fastest to the first checkpoint, the Chilean star continued to push, maximising his opportunity to claw back time on rally leader Ricky Brabec. Despite a challenge by Austrian Matthias Walkner during the closing stages of the special, Quintanilla went on to claim the win by a slender nine seconds.

‰ÛÏHonestly, the stage was really tough today ‰ÛÒ all off-piste and very fast," Quintanilla reflected. "I felt good and was able to push as hard as I could. Overall, I‰Ûªm really happy with my race and to be in this position going into the final day. After difficult months I have had coming back from injury, it feels great to be here and second overall going into tomorrow. As always I will give my all and we‰Ûªll see what will happen.‰Û
Dakar Stage 11: Quintanilla gains time with stage win while Brabec maintains overall lead
Matthias Walkner stormed home to take the lead in the closing stages until he eventually dropped back to second finishing nine seconds adrift of the winner. Photo: DPPI
Matthias Walkner came close to running out before the refuelling stop. The Austrian was thankfully able to carry on and challenge Pablo Quintanilla for the stage win. Briefly taking the lead at kilometre 324, Matthias ultimately lost out on the stage win by just nine seconds.

‰ÛÏI had a really good stage today and made the most of my good start position to really push the tracks left by the guys in front," Walkner said. "I was riding at 100% for the entire special. I ran out of fuel about two kilometres before the refuelling but was able to lie the bike on its side to get the last bit to the pump and luckily it was just enough to carry on. I made up some good time today, but with just one stage left it‰Ûªll be tough to make up much more time. I‰Ûªll definitely give it my best and aim for a strong finish to the rally.‰Û
Dakar Stage 11: Quintanilla gains time with stage win while Brabec maintains overall lead
Luciano Benavides took third on stage, his best finish of the 2020 edition. Photo: DPPI
Luciano Benavides also claimed his best stage result of the 2020 event today, finishing third to solidify his seventh position in the overall provisional standings. Enjoying an excellent day in the dunes, Luciano was able to catch teammate Toby Price from where the teammates rode together to the finish.

‰ÛÏIt was a really nice day today and the first time we crossed some big dunes, so I like that a lot," Benavides enthused. "I was really worried about the fuel, so I eased off before the refuelling but made it ok. After that I caught the group in front and rode with them for the rest of the stage ‰ÛÒ just trying my best not to make any mistakes and get to the finish safely. I‰Ûªm really happy because there‰Ûªs just one more day to go now and I hope I can finish this Dakar strong.‰Û
Dakar Stage 11: Quintanilla gains time with stage win while Brabec maintains overall lead
Chilean rider Jos̩ Ignacio Cornejo finished fourth on the day, less than three minutes behind his fellow-countryman Quintanilla. Photo: DPPI
Chilean rider Jos̩ Ignacio Cornejo finished fourth on the day, less than three minutes behind his fellow-countryman Quintanilla and remains in fourth overall. Cornejo now has the possibility of attacking tomorrow in the concluding stage in a bid to be among the prize-winners.

"Today was the first day of real dunes. I was feeling pretty much at ease. It was very entertaining and I had a lot of fun. I'm in one piece and the bike too is in perfect shape. Tomorrow is the final day and we are fighting to improve our overall positions. I think that compared to last year I have improved a lot, I feel a much more complete rider. I still have to improve some things but I am very happy with my progress." Cornejo said.
Dakar Stage 11: Quintanilla gains time with stage win while Brabec maintains overall lead
After almost running out of fuel, Australian Toby Price managed to come home fifth. Photo: DPPI
Toby Price finished fifth just under six minutes down on eventual winner Quintanilla. Getting his head down right from the start of the stage, The Australian soon caught the riders ahead where he then found it difficult to make up any more time and was forced to ride in a group to the finish. Third overall going into the final stage, the reigning Dakar Champion hopes to conclude his time in Saudi Arabia safely and challenge for an overall podium result.

‰ÛÏI was able to make up a fair amount of time today but with the stage cut short yesterday it was difficult to get enough people between myself and the leaders," Price said. "All-in-all it‰Ûªs been a good day with very similar conditions to yesterday really ‰ÛÒ very fast and open. The sand has made for some tough going and like a few people today, I nearly ran out of fuel before kilometre 229. I managed to get in with about one litre left in the tank. One day to go now and I‰Ûªm still feeling good so we‰Ûªll see what tomorrow brings.‰Û
Dakar Stage 11: Quintanilla gains time with stage win while Brabec maintains overall lead
Rookie Jamie McCanney had his highest finish with sixth on stage to lead home Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team team-mate Franco Caimi.
The Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team duo of Jamie McCanney and Franco Caimi recorded their best team results of the event so far, with each placing inside the top-10 with sixth and seventh respectively.

"Today was everything I hoped the Dakar Rally would be ‰ÛÒ a really enjoyable stage that was slow and safe and a lot of fun," McCanney said. "Yesterday was a strange day but it set me up for a good day today ‰ÛÒ being closer to the front and among faster riders was cool. A few riders passed me but when Quintanilla came passed, I followed him to the finish. I felt like I rode well and really enjoyed the dunes. It was cool to experience a true marathon stage and to then follow it up with my best result of the rally so far. I‰Ûªm looking forward to the final day now.‰Û
Dakar Stage 11: Quintanilla gains time with stage win while Brabec maintains overall lead
Monster Energy Honda Team‰Ûªs Ricky Brabec holds on to the lead that he has held since day three going into the final day. Photo: DPPI
Brabec holds on to the lead that he has held since day three. The American managed well the advantage at the head of the general rankings, in spite of having dropped 12 minutes to the day‰Ûªs eventual winner and now has everything in his favour in his bid for the outright Dakar Rally 2020 victory.

"There‰Ûªs one stage left. The team is working well. I‰Ûªm pretty excited. I can‰Ûªt get my hopes up right now," Brabec said. "Stage 11 here in the dunes was pretty tough. Starting up front due to the cancellation of the second part. So it was really hard to judge the time. Tomorrow there is one stage left and I‰Ûªm in a good starting position. I‰Ûªm confident to be focused and make it to the finish line."
Dakar Stage 11: Quintanilla gains time with stage win while Brabec maintains overall lead
Australian Rod Faggotter continued his run of top twenty finishes with nineteenth on stage and now solidifies his spot at thirteenth overall in the general rankings. Photo: DPPI
Australian Rod Faggotter continued his run of top twenty finishes with nineteenth on stage and now solidifies his spot at thirteenth overall in the general rankings.

"Last 2 days were marathon and we camped away from all support teams. My bike held up great and happy to get through the two days without issues," Faggotter said. "After yesterday assisting a fallen rider and then coming in sixth - I took it steady today as we started in bad light and wasn‰Ûªt comfortable in the dunes earlier on. I had a crash over the hangers after collecting a camel grass but no problems! Got my mojo back halfway through the stage and finished strong. Last day tomorrow!" he concluded.

The final stage will be decided tomorrow between Haradh and Qiddiyah. A 374- kilometre special which will feature a 20-kilometre Qiddiya Trophy GP, obligatory for the riders who finish on the final podium of this edition of the Dakar, although the result will have no effect on the final standings of the rally.

For full results and standings - Click Here
Dakar Stage 11: Quintanilla gains time with stage win while Brabec maintains overall lead
Dakar Stage 11: Quintanilla gains time with stage win while Brabec maintains overall lead

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