In what has been one of the toughest Dakar Rallys to date, riders have faced close to 4,200 kilometres of riding, with almost 2,400 raced against the clock over a wide variety of terrain. The introduction of the new 48-hour chrono stage posed an immense challenge to riders with distances never before seen at the Dakar. That test of endurance, combined with technically complex navigation, has made the opening week of this year’s event unforgettable.
With week one of the 46th Dakar Rally completed in Saudi Arabia, Husqvarna Factory Racing now look ahead to the second half of the 2024 event. Luciano Benavides has delivered solid, consistent performances throughout the rally so far, including one runner-up stage finish, which has placed him eighth in the overall standings.
Relaxing on rest day, Luciano and the team are taking time to reset ahead of the six stages that will take the race to the finish line in Yanbu on January 19. Benavides will be looking to use the speed that took him to his strong results this week to hunt down his rivals and climb his way up the Rally GP leaderboard.
Luciano Benavides: “We finished the challenging 48-hour marathon stage after over 600 kilometres of racing in the dunes. It was difficult as I led the way for a lot of the special so I did lose some time because of that. Still, I really enjoyed the new stage, but I am exhausted and very happy to have a day off to recover and reset my mind. I’m feeling really good on the bike overall, I’m happy to be here and still racing, as a lot of people haven’t made it to this point. I can’t wait for week two, I’ll be giving my all as always, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Andreas Hölzl – Rally Team Manager: “Luciano is doing great, even though he was unlucky with the engine issue and the 15-minute penalty, which has pushed him further down the leaderboard than we would like. However, Luciano is really good at focusing on each stage as it comes and not letting it affect him. It’s been a tough week with plenty of ups and downs, but there are still six equally, if not more, tough days left to race, so anything can happen. The navigation will be tricky again and the terrain will be a mix of rocky sections and dunes, similar to this week. Our focus as a team now is on the rest day and making sure that we reset and get ready to push harder in week two.”
2024 Dakar Rally – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 6]
1. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 27:11:21
2. Ross Branch (Hero) 27:12:12
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 27:20:42
4. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 27:25:35
5. Toby Price (KTM) 27:38:21
8. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 27:58:47