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Dakar Stage 12 Final: Brabec and Honda claim 2020 Dakar victory as Cornejo takes final stage win

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Dakar Stage 12 Final: Brabec and Honda claim 2020 Dakar victory as Cornejo takes final stage win
After the heartbreak of three successive DNF's Monster Energy Honda Team's Ricky Brabec made history to become the first ever American to win the world‰Ûªs toughest and cruellest rally and the first for Honda in 30 years. Photo: Rally Zone
American Ricky Brabec has claimed the 2020 Dakar Tally overall win after he followed stage winner and Monster Energy Honda Team team-mate Jos̩ Ignacio Cornejo home on the final day's.

Pablo Quintanilla and Australian Toby Price, finished second and third in the overall rankings respectively with Price finishing third on the final stage.

After eight years in pursuit of glory, the dream has finally come true. Ricky Brabec rewarded Honda with a much desired victory. Honda had returned to the Dakar in 2013 after a 23-year absence, yet after numerous stage wins and two overall runner-up spots, the principle objective remained elusive. However, on an eighth attempt in the 2020 edition, success finally materialized. The result is, without doubt, the fruit of much long-term work by engineers, mechanics and riders, who have spared no effort to accomplish the mission of outright victory in the Dakar Rally.


Brabec also made history by becoming the first American to have his name inscribed amongst the winners of the planet‰Ûªs most gruelling odyssey. The Monster Energy Honda Team ace snatched the leadership on day three and refused to relinquish the top spot until the race wrapped up, two stage victories and 5000 kilometres later.

"It‰Ûªs a dream come true. Hopefully we can come back next year and repeat it," Brabec said. "I know that it‰Ûªs not going to be easy as the Husky and KTM boys will be breathing down our necks. I‰Ûªm really excited to be here for Honda and for America as well. To be the only American to accomplish this goal is amazing. I think it‰Ûªs really a dream come true.
Dakar Stage 12 Final: Brabec and Honda claim 2020 Dakar victory as Cornejo takes final stage win
After eight years in pursuit of glory, the dream has finally come true for the Monster Energy Honda Team. Photo: Rally Zone
"Now we‰Ûªve got to set our goals higher and accomplish more. We are going to come back next year and try and repeat this but, as I said, it‰Ûªs not easy. We are happy. It was a big, tough race. A lot of kilometres. The team worked great together. The riders were good and the whole team worked well together so I‰Ûªm really happy. The bikes were really good. We are all here. We are all happy and safe. That was the first goal. I can‰Ûªt thank everyone enough ‰ÛÒ Honda, Monster and every one of the sponsors behind us. Thank you all so much. It‰Ûªs the first time in Saudi Arabia. The scenery was insane! I love it. Hopefully I‰Ûªll be back next year. I‰Ûªve got a five-year contract so I think we‰Ûªll be back."
Dakar Stage 12 Final: Brabec and Honda claim 2020 Dakar victory as Cornejo takes final stage win
Following a tenth and eighth in his previous two attempts, Jos̩ Ignacio Cornejo, the winner of the final stage, posted fourth overall . Photo: Rally Zone
Jos̩ Ignacio Cornejo, the winner of the final stage, posted fourth overall.

"Today's stage was short but intense," Cornejo reflected. "I battled it out with Walkner and Luciano Benavides. They started out in front of me, so I started the special very focused, trying to reduce the time. In the end I didn‰Ûªt make any mistakes and was able to win the final stage of the Dakar, and thus finish fourth in the general standings. I‰Ûªm very happy with the way the entire rally went. The team has finally achieved the victory we were looking for after so many years. I‰Ûªm very happy with the whole team, they have worked so hard."
Dakar Stage 12 Final: Brabec and Honda claim 2020 Dakar victory as Cornejo takes final stage win
Pablo Quintanilla bettered his third-place 2016 performance to award Husqvarna their highest ever event result to date. Photo: Rally Zone
Winner of the penultimate stage, Pablo Quintanilla went into the final day of racing in Saudi Arabia with a 13-minute deficit on the race Brabec. Despite having the unenviable task of leading riders out into the final 374-kilometre special, he put in a superb ride from the front, opening the entire stage to ultimately finish fifth, just over three minutes down on the eventual stage winner Cornejo. In claiming second overall, Quintanilla secured his best ever result at the Dakar, which, following the injury sustained at last year‰Ûªs event, is a massive achievement.

‰ÛÏI feel amazing. To spend most of 2019 in recovery and now to be here with my best ever result makes me extremely grateful," Quintanilla said. "I never thought that I would be in this position at the beginning of the race. I would like to thank the team for their hard work over these two weeks ‰ÛÒ they have done an amazing job. Overall, my race has gone really well, it‰Ûªs been a tough event for everybody, and the main goal was always to reach the finish. A podium at the Dakar is like a dream come true, especially after such a hard one this year. I still want that win so I‰Ûªll work hard and be back next year.‰Û
Dakar Stage 12 Final: Brabec and Honda claim 2020 Dakar victory as Cornejo takes final stage win
Australian Toby Price has claimed an impressive third-place finish at the close of a very demanding 2020 Dakar Rally, he has now claimed five podiums, including two wins in six Rally's. Photo: Rally Zone
Lying third overall going into the 447-kilometer 12th and final stage of the event it was always going to be a huge ask for Toby Price to make up the necessary time on the race leader. The 2019 champion didn‰Ûªt give up, giving his all on the final 374-kilometer timed special, ultimately posting the third-fastest time.

Claiming two stage wins during the course of the event, the outgoing champion has shown incredible pace, resolve and compassion to bring his KTM 450 Rally home safely and inside the top three.

‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm really happy with another podium at the Dakar ‰ÛÒ every time I‰Ûªve made it to the finish at this event I‰Ûªve got onto the podium. So far, I‰Ûªm either a number one or a number three guy," Price said. "The most important thing is to be here safely at the finish. Obviously, we came here to win, but it just wasn‰Ûªt our year. Yeah, after 18 wins in a row it would have been nice to get a 19th, but I think KTM‰Ûªs winning streak won‰Ûªt be topped for a very long time. We‰Ûªll go away now, regroup and come back stronger for 2021 and take that number one plate back.‰Û
Dakar Stage 12 Final: Brabec and Honda claim 2020 Dakar victory as Cornejo takes final stage win
Matthias Walkner claimed fifth overall after overcoming severe injuries sustained in last years rally. Photo: Rally Zone
The majority of Matthias Walkner‰Ûªs 2019 season was spent recovering from injury, with the Austrian working hard to arrive at this year‰Ûªs Dakar fit and strong and ready to take on the new chapter in the event‰Ûªs history. Showing great pace throughout the event, Matthias‰Ûª consistency paid off, claiming four top-three stage results on his way to securing fifth overall after finishing twelfth on the final outing. Happy with his result on what has been an extremely demanding event, the 2018 Dakar Champion is now aiming to be back stronger than ever next year.

‰ÛÏFirstly, it feels really good to cross the finish line, especially after such a fast Dakar in a new country," Walkner said. "For sure, I‰Ûªm not so happy with my result as my goal was to reach the podium. I know I made some mistakes in the first week where I lost some time, and it was very difficult to make that back up ‰ÛÒ especially as so many riders were competitive this year. The good thing is, I felt good with my speed and my navigation for most of the rally. Unfortunately, even with 11 good days, one bad day can spoil your race in rallying. Overall, I‰Ûªm happy because I know I did my best and the team and the bike have been perfect.‰Û
Dakar Stage 12 Final: Brabec and Honda claim 2020 Dakar victory as Cornejo takes final stage win
Luciano Benavides securing his best ever Dakar result in sixth. Photo: Rally Zone.
Luciano Benavides put in another strong ride on the final stage of the event to place fourth and move himself one place higher in the overall standings to sixth.

‰ÛÏIt‰Ûªs been a really tough Dakar and a very crazy race with lots of ups and downs," Benavides said, "Overall, I have really enjoyed it and I‰Ûªm happy to be here at the finish line. I knew this year would be a big challenge and would be a new experience for everyone, so my plan was to take it day by day and the main goal was always just to finish safely. I‰Ûªm very happy with my pace, I have learnt so much and was able to really use that knowledge at this year‰Ûªs event. So many riders were competitive, with times very close on a lot of the stages, so to come away with sixth overall is great. I‰Ûªm really looking forward to the coming season now.‰Û
Dakar Stage 12 Final: Brabec and Honda claim 2020 Dakar victory as Cornejo takes final stage win
Australian privateer Rod Faggotter finished thirteenth overall and came second in the Amature Class. Photo: DPPI
Australian Rod Faggotter had his best Dakar result finishing in the top twenty on most stages with a highlight of sixth on stage ten, the Queenslander claiming a career best overall result of 13th overall. Rod also claimed second overall in the Amature class.

"I had a solid two weeks and rode the most ‰ÛÏin control‰Û
Dakar Stage 12 Final: Brabec and Honda claim 2020 Dakar victory as Cornejo takes final stage win
Dakar Stage 12 Final: Brabec and Honda claim 2020 Dakar victory as Cornejo takes final stage win

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