The Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team have kicked off the second week of racing at the 2021 Dakar Rally by successfully completing stage seven – the opening leg of the event’s gruelling marathon stage from Ha’il to Sakaka. Despite cruel luck striking Ross Branch – the team’s best-performing rider at the start of the stage – all riders made it to the finish where tonight they will stay, away from the team, in a temporary camp. Franco Caimi was the team’s highest placed finisher in 10th to record his second-best stage finish of the rally. Teammate Adrien Van Beveren also began week two on a positive note, ending the stage just behind Franco in 11th place.
Stage seven of the 2021 Dakar Rally formed leg one of the rally’s two-day marathon stage. Competitors set off from Ha’il following the event’s rest day and successfully reached the city of Sakaka where riders were then permitted just 10 minutes to prepare their machines ahead of tomorrow’s stage eight, the second leg of the marathon stage.
For the second time in the 2021 Dakar Rally, Franco Caimi was the highest placed Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team rider with the Argentine placing a strong 10th on stage seven. After entering the stage in 12th, the Yamaha WR450F Rally mounted rider maintained a strong and consistent pace throughout the 453-kilometre special, crossing the finish line less than seven minutes behind the stage winner.
After ending week one on a positive note, Adrien Van Beveren began week two with another strong stage result as he continues to work his way up the general classification. As the sixth rider to enter the stage, the Frenchman immediately put his navigational skills to work and in eventually placing 11th he secured another strong result. For tomorrow’s second leg of the marathon stage, Van Beveren will enjoy a strong starting position.
Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team’s leading rider going into stage seven, Ross Branch, was putting together another strong ride until a sizable crash 30 kilometres into the special derailed his charge. Fortunate to escape injury but forced to make some running repairs to his Yamaha WR450F Rally, Ross re-joined the race and ended a tough stage in 27th. Now, with no pressure and a highly advantageous starting position for stage eight and leg two of the marathon stage, he’ll take to the line with the sole aim of making up for lost time.
Stage eight of the 2021 Dakar Rally will be the second and final leg of the event’s marathon stage. Heading south west to Neom on the Red Sea coast, a diverse landscape awaits where accurate navigation, and bike conservation will be key in ensuring a strong finish on the stage’s 375-kilometre special.
Alexandre Kowalski – Yamaha Europe Off-Road Racing Manager
“Today’s first day of the marathon stage was a tricky one for us but all the riders are healthy, which is most important. Unfortunately, Ross had a crash. Thankfully, nothing too serious but he had a small problem with the bike as a result of the crash, which he was able to fix but it cost him close to 40 minutes. A real shame for him as he was well placed at the front of the field. For Franco, the stage was good, a consistent pace and accurate navigation so a good start to the marathon stage for him. Adrien rode well, too. It seems like there is now some strategy being implemented by other riders as at one point he opened the stage. This is normal at the Dakar though, and Adrien enjoyed the stage with strong navigation and looks forward to tomorrow. The rest of the team are now in Neom and we look forward to seeing the riders again tomorrow at the end of stage eight.”
Dakar Rally 2021
Stage 7 Provisional Classification
- Ricky Brabec (Honda) 4:37:44
- Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 4:39:51 + 0:02:07
- Skyler Howes (KTM) 4:40:03 + 0:02:19
- Sam Sunderland (KTM) 4:40:36 + 0:02:52
- Daniel Sanders (KTM) 4:40:58 + 0:03:14
- Xavier de Soultrait (Husqvarna) 4:41:41 + 0:03:57
- Franco Caimi (Yamaha) 4:44:30 + 0:06:46
- Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 4:45:43 + 0:07:59
- Ross Branch (Yamaha) 5:20:04 + 0:42:20
Dakar Rally 2021
Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 7)
- Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 28:51:31
- Toby Price (KTM) 28:51:32 + 0:00:01
- Sam Sunderland (KTM) 28:53:42 + 0:02:11
- Xavier de Soultrait (Husqvarna) 28:54:05 + 0:02:34
- Kevin Benavides (Honda) 28:59:00 + 0:07:29
- Joan Barreda (Honda) 29:01:49 + 0:10:18
- Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 29:29:13 + 0:37:42
- Ross Branch (Yamaha) 29:32:28 + 0:40:57
17. Franco Caimi (Yamaha) 29:37:23 + 0:45:52