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Dakar Stage 7: A first for Brabec

A second for Peterhansel
Monday, January 9, 2017


Ricky Brabec

On the road to Uyuni, Ricky Brabec has won his first special on the Dakar at the end of a 174 kilometer sprint ridden at a devilish pace. In the car race, Stephane Peterhansel did justice to his rank of general standings leader thanks to a narrow victory over his team-mate Sebastien Loeb.


The Dakar left La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, and the warm welcome given by its inhabitants to head towards another world renowned venue, the Salar d'Uyuni salt flats. The stage was shortened due to the poor weather conditions, but once again boasted sandy tracks that were liable to create big gaps, including between the favorites. The seventh day especially rhymed with the marathon stage, which could leave its mark on competitors who have to toil alone on arrival at the bivouac to maintain their machines so harshly put to the test...

The essentials

Ricky Brabec had been there or thereabouts for a while. Today, the official Honda rider was finally rewarded for his efforts and paid back the trust shown to him by HRC with triumph on stage seven, ahead of his experienced team-mate Paulo Goncalves. In third, Sam Sunderland did all that was necessary to limit the damage and even increased his lead in the general standings over Pablo Quintanilla. In the quad category, Sergey Karyakin finally picked up his first victory of the year after having finished in the top seven during four of the first five stages. Consequently, the Russian takes the lead in the general standings, ahead of the Frenchmen Simon Vitse and Axel Dutrie. In the car race, Stephane Peterhansel picked up his second stage victory since the start in Asuncion, equaling Sebastien Loeb's tally this year. Once again, on completion of a superb duel between the two men, Peterhansel made the difference, by 48 seconds. Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) and Mikko Hirvonen (Mini) had to content themselves with maintaining their positions, whilst Nani Roma leapfrogged Cyril Despres to take provisional third place in the general standings. As for the trucks, it is now the turn of Dimitry Sotnikov behind the wheel of his Kamaz to put pressure on Gerard de Rooy, with a first stage victory in 2017, enabling him to climb to within two minutes of the Dutchman's Iveco in the general standings.

Performance of the day

At the age of 31 years old, Todd Smith is taking part in his first Dakar behind the handlebars of a non-official KTM bike. The Australian undoubtedly did not expect to be in with a shout so early on, especially on a Dakar rally that has tripped up many of the favorites. However, with every special he completes, Smith seems to be more and more comfortable, as he showed today with a magnificent seventh place. He is unquestionably a rider to watch, up to Buenos Aires and in the years to come…

A crushing blow

Mikko Hirvonen finished fourth on this marathon stage, a performance that helped him maintain his position. However, with a puncture 8 kilometers from the finish when he hit a rock on exiting a river bed, the Finn did not make his job any easier and is set for a long evening of repairs. The Mini driver finished the stage on his wheel rim and will have to rely on the generosity of his team-mates to get as many spare wheels as he can for tomorrow, since any assistance is forbidden before tackling the Salar d'Uyuni salt flats…

Stat of the day

Six out of six: more open that ever, the Dakar 2017 has just witnessed a sixth stage winner in the bike race after as many completed stages from the start, with the success of Ricky Brabec. With six more riders in the top 8 in the general standings still seeking their first victory, perhaps the sequence is not yet finished…

Quote of the day

Stephane Peterhansel: “The lead is better than nothing. The overall classification is still very close, but it's a really interesting race for everybody, I think. We're still in the fight and that's the most important thing”.

Standings Overall

Car Top-10

2309LOEB (FRA) , ELENA (MCO)PEUGEOT15:59:0300:01:57-
3305ROMA (ESP) , HARO BRAVO (ESP)TOYOTA16:08:1300:11:07-
4307DESPRES (FRA) , CASTERA (FRA)PEUGEOT16:11:0700:14:01-
5303HIRVONEN (FIN) , PERIN (FRA)MINI16:44:3000:47:24-
7308TERRANOVA (ARG) , SCHULZ (DEU)MINI17:13:1201:16:06-
8316PRZYGONSKI (POL) , COLSOUL (BEL)MINI17:15:0801:18:02-
9314GARAFULIC (CHL) , PALMEIRO (PRT)MINI18:05:2602:08:20-
10318DUMAS (FRA) , GUEHENNEC (FRA)PEUGEOT18:45:4302:48:37-

Bike Top-10

114SUNDERLAND (GBR)KTM17:28:53--
36VAN BEVEREN (FRA)YAMAHA17:51:0900:22:16-
48FARRES GUELL (ESP)KTM17:57:2900:28:36-
516WALKNER (AUT)KTM18:03:1000:34:1700:05:00
623DE SOULTRAIT (FRA)YAMAHA18:13:2600:44:3300:07:00
731RENET (FRA)HUSQVARNA18:31:3001:02:37-
817GONCALVES (PRT)HONDA18:34:1501:05:2200:48:20
911BARREDA BORT (ESP)HONDA18:43:4001:14:4701:01:00
1034DUPLESSIS (ARG)KTM18:45:2901:16:36-

Truck Top-10

7504STACEY (NLD) , VAN DER VAET (BEL) , KUPPER (NLD)MAN16:38:2200:46:15-
8515SHIBALOV (RUS) , AMATYCH (RUS) , ROMANOV (RUS)KAMAZ16:38:4400:46:37-
9509VERSLUIS (NLD) , KLEIN (DEU) , PRONK (NLD)MAN16:48:4700:56:40-
10516SUGAWARA (JPN) , SUGIURA (JPN)HINO17:22:5001:30:43-

Top-10 Quad

1254KARYAKIN (RUS)YAMAHA22:13:25--
2279VITSE (FRA)YAMAHA22:18:4100:05:1600:01:30
3280DUTRIE (FRA)YAMAHA22:18:4500:05:20-
4251CASALE (CHL)YAMAHA22:29:2300:15:58-
5272MAZZUCCO (ARG)CAN-AM23:28:5601:15:31-
6263COPETTI (ARG)YAMAHA24:01:3501:48:10-
7257SANABRIA GALEANO (PRY)YAMAHA24:26:0902:12:4400:10:00
8267KOOLEN (NLD)BARREN RACER24:29:3902:16:1401:07:00
9261HANSEN (ARG)HONDA24:29:4702:16:2200:12:30
10250SONIK (POL)YAMAHA24:59:1002:45:45-

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