After 12 gruelling stages, the Dakar 2021 has finally come to an end. Honda’s Kevin Benavides has clinched the 2021 Dakar title with team-mate Ricky Brabec finishing runner-up. This marks a first title for the Argentinean Monster Energy Honda Team rider and, once again, a historic result for Honda, who dominated throughout the Dakar 2021. Over 12 tough days, Monster Energy Honda Team commanded the rally, accomplishing the final mission for a second successive year.
With two Honda riders at the podium (Kevin 1st and Ricky 2nd), this is a first one-two finish for Honda since 1987. Honda last achieved a final one-two finish in Dakar 1987 with Cyril Neveu at the top position ahead of Edi Orioli. The Dakar 2021 has proved to be a historic race for Honda.
Dakar 2021 Key Highlights
#The first stage was a mixed bag for the defending champion Ricky Brabec who shipped 18 minutes to Toby Price after totally losing his bearings in the opening kilometres, while his predecessor as the winner of the race claimed his thirteenth career Dakar stage win.
#After the third-best time in the first stage, Matthias Walkner was intent on following the pace of his team-mate Toby Price on the special heading to Wadi Ad-Dawasir. However, a clutch problem sent his plans down the drain after he got stuck in a dune shortly after reaching the 46 km point in Stage 2.
#Kevin Benavides won in the stage 5 finishing in Al Qaisumah, where he reached the bivouac as the new leader of the general standings. The tumble that the Argentinean was not able to avoid in the dunes nevertheless left him with a broken nose and injured ankle.
#Nacho Cornejo displayed his navigational skills and managed to cross into the upper reaches of the general standings by stage 9. The Chilean’s performance pressured Toby Price into being too hasty and the Australian exited the rally after a heavy fall which resulted in a broken collarbone. The crash happened about 155 km into the 579 km looped stage around the planned coastal city of Neom.
#During stage 10, Nacho Cornejo ended up crashing 252 km into the special. The Chilean was evacuated from the race 90 kilometres down the road. He was forced to withdraw from the race due to a concussion that required close surveillance and in-depth examinations. At the finish of the special, Ricky Brabec won and at the same time rocketed up to second place overall.
#In stage 11, Joan Barreda, who had posted the best time after 215 km, got muddled up reading his road-book and did not stop at the refuelling point, exposing himself to a severe penalty and especially to the likelihood of running out of petrol. He requested a medical examination and was airlifted to the bivouac in Yanbu. As a result, his 11th participation in the Dakar finishes with the 5th withdrawal of his career in the rally.
#Pierre Cherpin passed away. The 52-year-old French rider crashed in Stage 7 at km 178. Doctors found him unconscious when they reached him by helicopter. Taken to Sakaka’s hospital, the medical report revealed a severe head trauma with loss of consciousness.
Sources – Dakar.com, Monster Energy Honda Team
All Images Source – Dakar.com