Stage nine of the 2021 Dakar Rally was a loop stage beginning in, and returning to, Neom, on the sandy shore of the Red Sea. After a few kilometres riding over smooth sand, the 465-kilometre special – the second-longest of the entire rally – took riders inland onto sandy tracks and rocky trails that formed much of the stage’s terrain. Nearing the conclusion, accurate navigation through many technical canyons was needed in order to secure a strong result.
Following many highlights for Ross Branch during the 2021 Dakar Rally – headlined by narrowly missing out on winning stage six by a slender 14 seconds – frustratingly a technical issue shortly after starting stage nine brought the Botswana native’s time in the rally to an end.
Alexandre Kowalski – Yamaha Europe Off-Road Racing Manager
Sadly, for Ross, a technical issue means that his race is over. He was competing with the best riders in the rally up until his crash on Sunday, and even after that, he showed such tremendous spirit and passion to continue and keep pushing on the second leg of the marathon stage yesterday. It’s really sad, he’s been incredible and it’s a shame for his race to end like this.
Stage 9 Provisional Classification
1. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 4:49:15
2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 4:50:33 + 0:01:18
3. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 4:50:49 + 0:01:34
4. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 4:59:26 + 0:10:11
5. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 5:03:07 + 0:13:52
Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 9)
1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 36:51:00
2. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 37:02:24 + 0:11:24
3. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 37:05:34 + 0:14:34
4. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 37:08:26 + 0:17:26
5. Joan Barreda (Honda) 37:20:00 + 0:29:00
10. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 37:53:48 + 1:02:48
The 10th stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally opens with beautiful scenery and breathtaking views of the Red Sea, before heading east and into a series of rocky canyons. Patience and accurate navigation throughout the 342-kilometre special will ensure strong stage results ahead of the penultimate day of racing.