Dakar 2019 Stage Six
Arequipa > San Juan de Marcona 838 km – Jan 13th
Claiming his first individual stage victory at this year’s Dakar Rally, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider Pablo Quintanilla has retaken the lead of the event’s provisional overall standings.
Entering the second week of Dakar in high spirits, Pablo Quintanilla put in a great performance on Sunday in Peru. Involved in a battle for the stage victory with fellow South American Kevin Benavides (Honda), Quintanilla took the virtual lead before the penultimate waypoint and never looked back.
Following a well-considered plan of attack, the FR 450 Rally mounted Quintanilla has put himself back into the rally’s overall lead with four crucial stages still to be contested in the Peruvian countryside. Overall, Pablo is now four minutes and 38 seconds ahead of preview leader Ricky Brabec, after the Honda man struggled to find a waypoint.
Pablo Quintanilla – Stage P1 – Overall P1
“Everything went according to plan today and I’m happy with the stage win. The day wasn’t easy, the pace was quite fast, and navigation was difficult. We also had to race through strong headwinds. We had a good battle with Kevin Benavides and at one point I managed to pass him and retain the lead. It’s good to be back on top in the overall. The race is still long and I want to stick to my plan. Tomorrow I will be the first rider to start the stage and this is surely a disadvantage. But my plan is to fight back for a good result on day eighth and then take advantage of the mass start on day nine. Lots of things can happen these next few days but I will do my best to keep my eyes focused on my goals.”
Ricky Brabec – Stage P6 – Overall P2
“It was another tough stage. The temperature was nice but the wind was a big factor. It’s kind of hard to ride all day with the wind pushing you around. At one point for about 50 km I was concerned about fuel. I know that we had filled up at the top at kilometre 80 at the neutralization. I was freaking out because I ran out of one of my tanks earlier than expected. On the whole it was a good day. There’s four days left. I’m glad to be at this bivouac full of fesh fesh that makes everything such a mess. I’m looking forward to the next four days. Hopefully I can stay in the fight and keep pushing. I feel great and my body is at 100%.”
Kevin Benavides fought nail and tooth for the stage win and nearly pulled it off, coming home less than two minutes shy of stage winner Quintanilla. However, the Argentine Monster Energy Honda Team climbed the overall leader board from seventh to fourth place, eating one minute into the overall leader’s time.
Kevin Benavides – Stage P2 – Overall P4
“Today was a good day. I changed the strategy to start pushing this second week and today I started further out. The idea was to finish as well as possible later on, so this second position on the stage is fine despite having lost a bit of time towards the end. We have to keep going and not waste too much time in the remaining stages.”
Putting in a superb ride in the tough conditions, Matthias Walkner was able to navigate his way successfully through the stage despite riding alone for the majority of the day. His third position, just over four minutes from the leading time, moves the Austrian up to sixth in the provisional overall standings.
Matthias Walkner – Stage P3 – Overall P6
“I had a good ride today, navigation was really tricky, but I had some lines in front of me, so I just had to stay focused and use my head a little. I rode the majority of the day alone and that can be tough sometimes, but I’m pleased with my riding and the result, especially as the overall pace was so high. Overall, it has been a good day.”
Just 27 seconds adrift from teammate Walkner, Toby Price continues to battle on despite the increasing pain in the wrist he broke and had pinned in the lead up to Dakar 2019. The Australian’s fourth place result puts him in an ideal start position for Monday’s stage seven. Price lies third in the provisional standings.
Toby Price – Stage P4 – Overall P3
“It’s been a really tough day today. My wrist is hurting more and more as the race goes on and it’s making things uncomfortable out there. I’ll keep cruising on though and I’m still in the race, it’s just a bit more like survival mode at the moment. Nevertheless, third overall with four stages left to race is encouraging. The goal is the same – make it safely to the finish – so I’ll keep on pushing on tomorrow.”
With six stages contested so far in Peru, WR450F Rally mounted Van Beveren has finished inside the top five in five of them. Holding on to a strong fifth place in the overall standings, Adrien is less than ten minutes behind the event’s provisional leader.
Adrien Van Beveren – Stage P5 – Overall P5
“It was a hard day but everything worked fine for me. We woke up super early to start the stage and that was tough on our bodies. After we took the start of the special I saw Santolino on the ground and stopped to help him. I lost a few minutes there but got the time back when I reached the finish. As soon as the medics arrived I got back on my bike and returned to the stage. I pushed hard while also making sure I avoided mistakes. This race is all about managing your risks and keeping it on two wheels. Overall, I’m happy with my performance today and I my starting position for tomorrow is not that bad. There is still four days of racing here in Peru and it’s going to be pretty intense.”
Following his strong third place result on stage five, Xavier de Soultrait was unable to show his true potential on Sunday’s stage six. Suffering sea sickness in the massive dunes, Xavier had to settle for an 11th place result on stage six. He will be the 11th rider to start tomorrow’s stage seven.
Xavier de Soultrait – Stage P6 – Overall P9
“It was a difficult day in the dunes. I was among the first riders to start the stage and soon after I felt sea sickness from riding up and down in the dunes. I got some special pills for that and did the best I could until the end of the stage. I might have lost some time in the overall, but I am physically and mentally strong at the moment. I also have a great starting position for tomorrow and I am planning to take full advantage of it. Tomorrow I want to push as hard as possible to make up time. My goal is to battle for the stage win and I will do everything possible to make it happen.”
Earning yet another top 10 stage result, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Andrew Short wrapped up stage six with an eighth-place result. Battling through tough conditions and tricky navigation the American racer is now tenth overall, 38 minutes behind his team partner Quintanilla.
Andrew Short – Stage P8 – Overall P10
“It was a tricky day for me. The dunes are really soft and it’s hard to get a good rhythm. I saw a rider crash in front of me in the first part of the stage and that was a bit disappointing. It took me some time to find my pace. After the halfway point I caught up with a few other riders and we continued the rest of the stage racing alongside each other. It was a hard day for all of us with the wind and the terrain, everything was really tough. Despite all that, I’m still in a good position in the race and I have a few more stages to improve my position in the overall standings.”
Impressing again with another top-10 finish, Luciano Benavides has really come into form on the 2019 Dakar Rally. Riding intelligently, the Argentinian claimed ninth on stage six and sits just one place outside of the top 10 overall with four stages left to race.
Luciano Benavides – Stage P9 – Overall P11
“Today was a really long day and very windy. I eased off a little at the end because of the conditions and didn’t want to make a mistake and lose time. I feel good physically and mentally and the main goal is still to get a good finish. I am lying in 11th place at the moment and I would love to break into the top 10. I am really enjoying the rally because I’m learning all the time and I can feel my pace and confidence improving as my experience increases.”
Following his win on the previous day of racing, Sam Sunderland was given the unenviable task of opening today’s technical and gruelling stage. The British rider lead out from start to finish but unfortunately lost time overall to the following pack. Sunderland lies seventh overall, but vows to push his hardest right to the finish.
Sam Sunderland – Stage P12 – Overall P7
“I was up against it a little today. After stopping to help Goncalves on the fifth stage I had no markers to set my pace and by winning the stage I upset my overall strategy for the race a little. As we know, opening the stage is always a disadvantage and today, with harsh conditions and tricky navigation, it cost me a lot of time. Personally for me, I was pleased with my riding and how I managed the navigation out front, that was really encouraging. I lost a little time after clipping a rock and damaging my rear brake, but the team were great and replaced that at the neutralisation. The race isn’t over yet though and I’m going to keep fighting. It’s Dakar, it’s always a challenge.”
Claiming her best result of this year’s rally to date, Laia Sanz is feeling good and enjoyed her performance on stage six. Using her skills and experience, Laia was able to make up good time at the beginning of the timed special where accurate navigation was required. Completing the stage in 15th elevates the Spaniard to 16th in the provisional overall standings.
Laia Sanz – Stage P15 – Overall P16
“I felt really good first thing in the dunes today. I was able to gain on the guys in front and that is always nice for your confidence. The second part of the stage opened out a lot and was a lot faster. I was riding on my own and it gets difficult to judge your pace, the faster sections are not my favourite either. My navigation was accurate all day and I think I improved in the overall too, so I’m happy.”
2019 Dakar Rally
Provisional Results Stage Six
- QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Rockstar Husqvarna Factory 03:50’47
- BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda +01’52
- WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +04’21
- PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +04’48
- VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha Official Rally Team 05’48
- BRABEC Ricky USA Monster Energy Honda Team +07’30
- SVITKO Stefan SLO Slovnaft Team KTM +08’20
- SHORT Andrew USA Rockstar Husqvarna Factory +13’54
- BENAVIDES Luciano ARG Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +15’13
- CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda +21’47
2019 Dakar Rally Outright Standings after Stage Six
- QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Husqvarna 20:45’13
- BRABEC Ricky USA Honda +04’38
- PRICE Toby AUS KTM +05’17
- BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Honda +08’01
- VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha +09’32
- WALKNER Matthias AUT KTM +10’46
- SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM +21’06
- SVITKO Stefan SLO KTM +31’56
- DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha +38’04
- SHORT Andrew SA Husqvarna +08’56