Dakar moto, stage 10: Van Beveren 2nd in the Empty Quarter, everything will be decided on Thursday

Dakar moto, stage 10: Van Beveren 2nd in the Empty Quarter, everything will be decided on Thursday

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It was one of the brave moments of this Dakar with the start of the liaison at 3.30 am for 500 km, then a special of 110 km, completely dune in the middle of the terrible Empty Quarter. Van Beveren, 2nd of the day (and 4th overall at 9’52), keeps all his options before Thursday’s marathon stage.

What to remember from the morning

– We feared the worst of this first short stage in the Empty Quarter, this crossroads of emptiness with only dunes as far as the eye can see. In the end, none of the favorites were lost and the gaps did not exceed 8′. A warm-up before Thursday? It’s possible.


Adrian Van Beveren was the best of the favourites, 2nd in the stage behind Botswana’s Ross Branch, who signed his 2nd stage victory. On his favorite playground, he took 7’30 and 8′ from the Howes-Price duo, who had a 15′ lead over him overall, from which he strengthened his 4th place at 9’52 behind the new leader Kevin Benavides. These 5 to 6 minutes taken from the lead on Wednesday are precious but he will have to open the track on Thursday with the whole pack hot on his heels. The challenge: to crack the front three and break the curse of 4th place on the Dakar.

– With four stages to go, including Thursday’s marathon stage in the dunes which could well be decisive, there are still 6 riders in less than 20 minutes overall. Kevin Benavides, Skyler Howes and Toby Price are grouped in 2’10, Adrien Van Beveren, best Honda driver is 4th in 9’52. With 15′ and 15’30 behind, Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) and Mason Klein (KTM) seem to be the only two who can still hope to upset the established order.

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The course of Adrien Van Beveren’s stage

Departure
: we had to go to bed early Tuesday evening at the bivouac because the departure was scheduled for 3:30 am for the first, the time of an interminable night connection of more than 450 km before confronting the famous Empty Quarter, or the Void. Dunes, dunes, dunes within sight. The navigation is hell and, in just 114 km of special, anything can happen. The Howes-Price duo which largely dominates the Dakar can lose everything… or not. Adrien Van Beveren, 4th at 15’40 overall, will play part of his chances of final victory in the sector, the dunes, which he masters best.

Km 29
: on his playground, a hot start from Adrien Van Beveren, only outstripped (2nd, 7”) by the modest South African Docherty. The first nine overall are in 1’30, there are no gaps. The Luciano Benavides-Price-Howes trio opens, without consequences for them currently.

Km 60
: Adrien Van Beveren takes over the reins just ahead of Docherty (11”). The gaps are widening a little, mainly with the trio of openers Price – L. Benavides – Howes, pushed back to around 3 minutes. For the rest, nothing very remarkable.

Leader of the Dakar, Skyler Howes had the disadvantage of being part of the openers this Wednesday. PHOTO FRANCK FIFE AFP – AFP

Km 84
: Adrien Van Beveren is still leading, not necessarily an advantage before the crazy stage that awaits us on Thursday. The first four are in 13 seconds, including two favorites, VBA and Kevin Benavides (3rd overall). Overall, of the 9 top drivers still in contention, six of them are clocked in 3′ (including Adrien Van Beveren, 1st) while the three openers of the day suffer a little more (5 to 6′ on the track including meager bonuses will have to be deducted).

Arrival (km 114)
: the Botswanan Ross Branch, already winner of stage 8 on Sunday, does it again this Wednesday during stage 10. Very far in the general standings, the Hero driver is ahead of Adrien Van Beveren by 21 seconds. The Audomarois driver is the first of the favorites, we will know tomorrow Thursday whether or not he has succeeded in a good operation since he will probably have to open, Branch having no interest in doing so. The gaps this Wednesday are not huge, 40” on Kevin Benavides, 2’20 on Quintanilla, 2’40 on Klein, 3’40 on Cornejo. However, he regained 7’30 and 8′ respectively from the former Dakar leaders, Howes and Price and strengthened his 4th place. Not negligible.

Classification of the provisional stage (before jury)

1 – Ross Branch (ZIM, Hero)

2 – Adrien Van Beveren (FRA, Honda) at 21”

3 – Michael Docherty (AFS, Husqvarna) at 30”

4 – Kevin Benavides (ARG, KTM) at 1′

(…)

6 – Pablo Quintanilla (CHI, Honda) at 2’43

7 – Mason Klein (USA, KTM) at 3’05

(…)

17 – Skyler Howes (USA, Husqvarna) at 7’38

18 – Toby Price (AUS, KTM) at 8’16

Provisional general classification (before jury)

1 – Kevin Benavides (ARG, KTM)

2 – Skyler Howes (USA, Husqvarna) at 1’29

3 – Toby Price (AUS, KTM) at 2’10

4 – Adrien Van Beveren (FRA, Honda) at 9’52

5 – Pablo Quintanilla (CHI, Honda) at 14’58

6 – Mason Klein (USA, KTM) at 15’38

(…)

19 – Michael Docherty (AFS, Husqvarna) at 3:04 a.m.

(…)

32 – Ross Branch (ZIM, Hero) at 6:38


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