Dakar Rally Stage 8 Red Sea coast with technical rocky terrain

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Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team’s Ross Branch and Adrien Van Beveren have safely finished stage eight of the 2021 Dakar Rally – leg two of the event’s marathon stage. Completing yet another physically and mentally challenging stage, earning 13th and 14th respectively, both Ross and Adrien now focus on the all-important final days of the competition. Frustratingly for Franco Caimi, the 2021 Dakar Rally is now over following a technical issue close to the finish of stage eight.


The eighth stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally formed the second and final leg of the event’s gruelling marathon stage. Heading south west to Neom on the Red Sea coast, the stage opened with technical, rocky terrain before following sandy tracks in the second half where accurate navigation was needed to ensure a strong finish on the 375-kilometre special. Upon completion and after 828 kilometres of racing with no technical support, Ross and Adrien were reunited with their team in the bivouac where mechanics will now prepare the bikes for tomorrow’s stage nine.


Overcoming a difficult stage seven, where he lost valuable time, Ross Branch focused on a trouble-free ride to safely complete the second leg of the event’s marathon stage. Opting to ride at a conservative pace throughout stage eight, Branch crossed the finish as the 11th fastest rider to successfully reach the bivouac in Neom. Now, the team’s mechanics will repair the crash damage on his Yamaha WR450F Rally machine while Ross will concentrate on delivering a positive end to this year’s rally.


Adrien Van Beveren continues to post consistent results at the 2021 Dakar Rally. Knowing the importance of successfully completing the marathon stage unscathed, the Frenchman ended the day in 13th and looks forward to the upcoming stages, which are set to take place on terrain more to his liking. Currently 14th in the provisional standings, Adrien is poised and ready to break into the overall top 10 during the days ahead.


Franco Caimi’s participation in this year’s rally came to an unfortunate end on stage eight where a technical issue, close to the finish, ruled the Argentine out of the event.


Stage nine of the 2021 Dakar Rally is a loop stage beginning in Neom on the sandy shore of the Red Sea. After a brief time on smooth sand, the 465-kilometre special takes riders inland on sandy tracks that form much of the stage’s terrain. Near its conclusion, competitors will need to accurately navigate their way through multiple rocky canyons to secure a strong result.


Ross Branch – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

“I’m happy to have completed the marathon stage as it’s been a tough couple of days. Today’s stage started off really rocky, so I was cautious through there but once the stage opened out I got into a good rhythm. Arriving here in Neom in one piece is good and we can now prepare the bike for tomorrow and I’m excited for the next stage.”


Adrien Van Beveren – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team

“Nothing special today for me, just consistent riding and then in the second half of the stage I was able to push more and felt more like myself. It was important to complete the marathon stage without any issues which I did, so I’m happy. The bike is good and tomorrow’s stage looks like the terrain will be similar to the end of today’s stage, so I’m looking forward to it.”


Alexandre Kowalski – Yamaha Europe Off-Road Racing Manager

“Today we again saw how tough the Dakar can be. We are really happy that both Ross and Adrien reached the finish of the marathon stage, especially for Ross because of his crash yesterday. Both riders will now take some rest, have some physio and think about the upcoming days while the mechanics prepare the bikes. The stage for tomorrow looks like it will favour strong navigation, which is good for both of our remaining riders. We are positive for good results tomorrow. Unfortunately, Franco had a technical issue, so his race is sadly over. He had been very fast and consistent throughout the rally, so it is a shame for it to end like this.”


Dakar Rally 2021


Stage 8 Provisional Classification

  1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 3:08:40
  2. Toby Price (KTM) 3:09:45 + 0:01:05
  3. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 3:11:30 + 0:02:50
  4. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 3:12:26 + 0:03:46
  5. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 3:14:09 + 0:05:29
  6. Joan Barreda (Honda) 3:14:27 + 0:05:47

  1. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 3:17:58 + 0:09:18
  2. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 3:21:28 + 0:12:48


Dakar Rally 2021


Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 8)

  1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 32:00:11
  2. Toby Price (KTM) 32:01:17 + 0:01:06
  3. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 32:06:08 + 0:05:57
  4. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 32:13:09 + 0:12:58
  5. Joan Barreda (Honda) 32:16:16 + 0:16:05
  6. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 32:17:53 + 0:17:42

  1. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 32:50:26 + 0:50:15
  2. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 32:50:41 + 0:50:30
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