Second victory for Nacho Cornejo. Monster Energy Honda Team well-positioned to contest the final Dakar stages

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Dakar Rally 2022

2022 Dakar

Second victory for Nacho Cornejo. Monster Energy Honda Team well-positioned to contest the final Dakar stages

Monster Energy Honda Team riders will be in contention for the final overall Dakar Rally 2022 victory. Although the first week did not go quite according to plan, the team has, nevertheless, given their maximum to stand a chance in the rally’s grand finale. Nacho Cornejo won the ninth stage.

Fewer and fewer stages are left to decide the outcome of the 2022 Dakar Rally. Today, in the ninth stage, the 287-kilometre special stage around Wadi Ad-Dawasir began to mark out which riders will be in the final contention for the win. A total of 491 kilometres, through the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter, featured less sand than on previous days, but more mountain tracks running between canyons that demanded precise, mistake-free navigation.

Yesterday Nacho Cornejo had been left with a bittersweet taste after the eighth stage. A slight mistake towards the end of the special, had left the rider without the prize he had been ultimately seeking: that of minimising any markings for his pursuers to follow while opening the track throughout the day. Today, he returned to the Wadi Ad-Dawasir bivouac with a smile beneath his helmet after a second win in this Dakar, taking the young Chilean’s total tally to five.

Monster Energy Honda Team’s American rider Ricky Brabec rode a fine special, pushing hard and posting third place on the day. Joan Barreda also completed the day’s stage with a certain degree of normality, a mere 2’10 behind his team-mate. Barreda, fifth on the stage, holds sixth in the general standings, less than 11 minutes behind the race leader. Lastly, Pablo Quintanilla did a commendable job today to set himself up nicely for the final victory battle of this 2022 Dakar. He finished eighth on the day and lies in fourth place overall just 4’41 behind the new race leader.

Tomorrow’s stage

With two days to go until the end of the rally, riders can once again expect a navigation-filled day before the 759-kilometre trek is completed. About half the distance – some 375 kilometres – will be against the clock. The crossings and parallel tracks could be the undoing of more than a few bikers.

Ricky Brabec  2

STAGE: 3rd OVERALL: 12th

Today went well. I think I rode very well, and that’s positive. The team, the riders and the mechanics are doing an excellent job. I’m slowly realising a couple of things: sometimes there are days when you don’t lose or gain time and sometimes you can gain or lose a lot of time. It’s something we have to study… I’m happy to be able to get to the end of another day with the whole team. There are two tough days left, so we’ll have to keep pushing. I try to go fast every day, to make up time, but maybe I have to do things differently.

Pablo Quintanilla  7

STAGE: 8th OVERALL: 4th

I’m happy. It was a good day because the goal today was to catch Sam and not to make any navigation mistakes. In the end it was a straightforward day: no mistakes, I caught up with Sam after the refuelling and we clawed back another minute in the overall. I think I have a good position for tomorrow. I won’t have to open the track but I will have fast riders in front and behind. We will try to manage the pressure well tomorrow. The times are very tight and will stay that way until the end. I’m really enjoying the race.

José Ignacio Cornejo  11

STAGE: 1st OVERALL: 9th

I think I had a good stage. Yesterday I lost a lot of time towards the end, opening the track, and today I wanted to make up some of that time. I would have liked to make up more, but the stage was very fast and it was difficult to make a big difference. I’m pleased: I did what I had to do, which was to push. There are three days left and we will continue with the same attitude, trying to turn out solid performances and improve in the general standings.

Joan Barreda  88

STAGE: 5th OVERALL: 6th

Today went quite well. I started 10th, with several riders ahead of me. I set a steady pace, making good decisions in terms of navigation. As the kilometres went by, I felt a bit better and in the final part, I was able to push harder. The truth is that the riders in front navigated really well and didn’t make any mistakes, so the pace was pretty high. We weren’t able to pull back much from the riders in front, but the positive thing is that another stage is over and I have a chance to fight for the Dakar, recovering physically by the day. The goal is to reach the finish-line giving it the maximum.