The Argentinian Manuel Andujar (Yamaha) today defended its leadership in the category quadricycles of the Dakar Rally Saudi Arabia 2024 and was close to winning his second title in the absence of the final stage that will be held this Friday in the city of yanbuOn the banks of Red Sea.
The Buenos Aires pilot, born in Wolvesentered second in the eleventh and penultimate section of 420 kilometers computed (107 link) between the town of Al’Ula and yanbuwith a difference of just 37 seconds in relation to the winner of the day, the Frenchman Alexandre Giroud (Yamaha).
The two-time title champion of the division, the Argentine’s only threat in the fight for the championship, won his fifth stage in the current edition of the Dakar but his discount was not significant and he will need a fatal day from his opponent tomorrow to achieve his third consecutive consecration.
Andujar, who has led the quad division since stage 4, will reach the last segment with a favorable difference of 8 minutes, 14 seconds, which the Grenoble driver must pulverize in the 328km. (175 timed) outlined in yanbu.
Giroudwinner in 2022 and 2023and Andujarchampion in 2021dominated the last three years of the category, in which Argentina It is the most successful country with seven titles. The previous ones were achieved by Marcos Patronelli in 2010, 2013 and 2016; his brother Alexander in 2011 and 2012, and also Nicolas Cavigliasso in 2019.
In motorcycles, Benavides was left with almost no chance of the title
In motorcyclesthe Argentine champion Kevin Benavides (Red Bull KTM) finished seventh, a result that prevented him from improving his classification in the general positions and left him with virtually no chance of revalidating the title achieved last season.
The man from Salta, twice winner of the competition, was 41 minutes, 19 seconds behind the American leader Ricky Brabec (Honda), who throbs a new consecration after entering second in the penultimate stage.
Brabecwinner of Dakar in 2020, maintains a difference of 10m.22s. about botswana Ross Branch (Hero), who won this Thursday’s stage but with a slim lead of 32 seconds that was not enough to put the leader in check.
“We’re almost at the end. Ross pushed hard today, it’s going to come down to him and me in the last stage, so we’ll see. Today was one of my best days. I made sure not to make any mistakes in the last 100 kilometers. Finishing a Dakar is already a victory”considered the leader, whose coronation was served.
“We will continue fighting tomorrow and see what happens, but Ricky had a magnificent race and deserves to win”admitted guard Branch, in statements to the official site.
Without championship chances, the challenge for Kevin Benavides will be completing the most demanding rally in the world for the eighth time in his career, as well as for his younger brother Lucianoofficial Husqvarna driver, who today placed fourth below the Frenchman Adrien van Bereven (Sling).
Luciano Benavides He occupies seventh place in the general motorcycle classification and will try to climb a step in the final stage to match the best performances in the Dakar. If you manage to deduct 8m. to the Australian Toby Price (Red Bull KTM) will finish sixth as happened in 2020 and 2023.
In the car category the Spaniard will be consecrated tomorrow Carlos Sainz (Audi), after the French Sebastian Loeb would be out of competition by breaking the right front fork of his Prodrive Hunter from the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team.
The Madrid native, three-time winner of the Dakar (2010, 2018 and 2020), leads with a difference of 1h.27m.06s. about the belgian Guillaume de Mevius (Toyota), who this Thursday was the escort of his teammate, the Frenchman Guerlain Chicheritwinner for the second day in a row.
Sainz completed the podium of the eleventh and penultimate stage, which had the Argentine Juan Cruz Yacopini (Toyota Overdrive Racing) on the seventh step.
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