2016 Dakar Rally – Stage 7: Halfway Point

01/10/2016 @ 12:29 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

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Stage 7 of the 2016 Dakar Rally was another long one, with 793km in total on the route and 353km on the special. With more trecherous weather, not all of the motorbike competitors crossed the finish line, with some turning back at their discretion, with the blessing of Race Control. The special stage was also trimmed, leaving out the second checkpoint.

The day’s results mark the halfway point of the Dakar Rally thus far, with Sunday serving as a much needed day off for the riders.

Despite the long and technical route, not much has changed overall in the standings. With Antoine Meo winning the stage, and Kevin Benavides finishing second, Paulo Gonçalves got some breathing room on his overall lead position, with his third place finish on Stage 7.

His closest competitor, KTM’s Toby Price, finished the day 5th quickest, and is now over three minutes behind Gonçalves.

A true testament to the riders’ code in Rally Rai, Gonçalves stopped around the 17th kilometer to help KTM’s Matthias Walkner, who had crashed and broken his femur. The ASO has credited that lost time to Gonçalves’s results for the day.

“Today I found Walkner who had fallen so I stopped; it was a normal situation for the Dakar: you give help when it’s needed,” explained Gonçalves. “I stayed with him until they were able to come to his rescue and then I carried on very carefully.”

“This week has been very fast and I have had some problems with the altitude. The first week has been really fast with difficulties at altitude. Now we are back in Argentina again with riding that we are more accustomed to. The position that I took was a good one and we have to continue to push until the end.”

HRC rider Joan Barreda failed to start Stage 7, though it’s not clear if that is because his Honda CRF450 Rally was still having the technical difficulties that brought his race to an early end yesterday, or if he was dropping out because he was out of contention of a good result.

Either way, Honda’s hopes now rest firmly on Paulo Gonçalves’s shoulders, and it looks like the 2016 Dakar Rally will come down to duel between him and Toby Price. With KTM dominating the last 14 Dakar Rallies, 2015 could see Honda finally upset that tally – a result they have been building towards the past few years.

Meanwhile, Saturday must have been a long one, because both KTM and Husqvarna haven’t released any rider quotes or a press release yet for Stage 7, and Yamaha Racing is using photos taken from Stage 6 for its media briefing.

Hopefully Sunday’s day off will allow not on the riders and mechanics to refresh and regroup, but the photographers and press officers as well.

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Helder Rodrigues (PRT) of Yamaha Racing Team races during stage 07 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 9, 2016 // Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20160109-00095 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

Helder Rodrigues (PRT) of Yamaha Racing Team races during stage 07 of Rally Dakar 2016 from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina on January 9, 2016 // Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20160109-00087 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

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Top 10 from Stage 7 – Uyuni to Salta – of the 2016 Dakar Rally:

Pos. Rider Country Brand Time Diff Penalty
1 MEO FRA KTM 02:27:27
2 BENAVIDES ARG HONDA 02:29:20 00:01:53
3 GONCALVES PRT HONDA 02:29:23 00:01:56
4 METGE FRA HONDA 02:31:18 00:03:51
5 PRICE AUS KTM 02:32:00 00:04:33
6 QUINTANILLA CHL HUSQVARNA 02:32:19 00:04:52
7 ARANA ESP HUSQVARNA 02:32:30 00:05:03
8 FARRES GUELL ESP KTM 02:33:28 00:06:01
9 SVITKO SVK KTM 02:33:30 00:06:03
10 BRABEC USA HONDA 02:33:44 00:06:17

Overall Top 10 of the 2016 Dakar Rally:

Pos. Rider Country Brand Time Diff Penalty
1 GONCALVES PRT HONDA 22:52:30
2 PRICE AUS KTM 22:55:42 00:03:12
3 SVITKO SVK KTM 23:01:54 00:09:24 00:01:00
4 QUINTANILLA CHL HUSQVARNA 23:10:36 00:18:06
5 BENAVIDES ARG HONDA 23:13:31 00:21:01
6 MEO FRA KTM 23:13:36 00:21:06
7 RODRIGUES PRT YAMAHA 23:17:14 00:24:44 00:02:00
8 FARRES GUELL ESP KTM 23:22:27 00:29:57
9 DUCLOS FRA SHERCO TVS 23:23:02 00:30:32
10 PEDRERO GARCIA ESP SHERCO TVS 23:24:15 00:31:45 00:02:00

Source: Dakar; Photos: HRC, KTM, & Yamaha Racing

  • AHA

    With such a high attrition rate affecting even the favourites, this race is truly wide open. Gotta be some surprises on the podium next week.

  • Paulo

    Good to see some showmanship from the riders, good safe ride to everyone going forward.

  • paulus

    Race control doing a great job again… not penalizing the riders for assistance to their downed fellow riders.