Dakar 2021: Fifth New Leader As Seesaw Continues…

#36 Brabec Jan (cze), KTM, Strojrent Racing, Moto, Bike, action during the 4th stage of the Dakar 2021 between Wadi Al Dawasir and Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia on January 6, 2021 – Photo Eric Vargiolu / DPPI

The seesaw continues with Honda’s Joan Barreda taking his second stage victory of the Dakar 2021 today. The Spaniard won by nearly six minutes on the 337km Wadi Ad-Dawasir-Riyadh section. This catapults him to second in the overall standings behind yet another new new leader – Xavier de Soultrait of France. Barreda had started the day eighth overall.

On today’s stage Barreda first took the stage lead at the opening waypoint, but KTM’s Toby Price managed to take the position immediately at the next timed marker. However, after Price lost five minutes due to a navigational error, the route was cleared for his Honda rival to secure a clear victory from Yamaha rider Ross Branch.

Rookie Daniel Sanders was the top KTM rider in third, while Husqvarna rider Luciano Benavides finished fourth ahead of privateer and new overall leader de Soultrait (Husqvarna). Joaquim Rodrigues missed out on a top five spot by just two tenths on the lead Hero bike, as Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda), Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna), Stefan Svitko (KTM) and Adrien van Beveren (Yamaha) completed the top 10.

Xavier de Soultrait is the fifth different rider to have held the lead in the bikes category since the start of the event with the Prologue on Saturday, following Brabec, Price, Barreda and KTM privateer Skyler Howes.

Honda’s Kevin Benavides dropped to third after finishing 11 minutes off the pace on Wednesday, but ahead of Branch, Howes and brother Luciano.

KTM duo Sam Sunderland and Price likewise lost positions after failing to finish inside the top 10 on Stage 4, the two riders sitting seventh and eighth with the first-third of the rally-raid complete. Ricky Brabec is provisionally classified 15th after another rough day for the Honda rider.

Leaderboard After 4 Stages

1Xavier de SoultraitHusqvarna15hr00m25s
2Joan BarredaHonda15s
3Kevin BenavidesHonda3m24s
4Ross BranchYamaha4m24s
5Skyler HowesKTM4m26s
6Luciano BenavidesHusqvarna5m31s
7Sam SunderlandKTM7m13s
8Toby PriceKTM7m47s
9Jose Ignacio CornejoHonda8m06s
10Pablo QuintanillaHusqvarna09m31s