This Friday the Dakar 2020 will reach the end. After 13 intense days (12 stages plus the day off), riders who reach the Qiddiya podium will savor the glory of finishing the rally. In an edition marked by the tragic accident of Portuguese Paulo Gonçalves, this Friday, if there is no last-minute incident, American Ricky Brabec and Carlos Sainz of Madrid will be crowned Dakar champions in the motorcycle and cars, respectively. For the motorcycle rider, it will be the first and will end the KTM hegemony, which he had been winning for 18 years; for Carlos Sainz, who knows what it is like to take the Tuareg trophy, he will be the third. This Thursday, being the second part of the marathon stage, the two have been conservative and face the last leg with enough room to avoid suffering more from the count.
Honda and teamwork
Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla is second in motorcycle general, so in the last stages he knew he had to press Brabec if he had any choice of winning. The Chilean took advantage of the fact that he was a little late on Thursday (ninth) to quickly regain his ground, and has attacked strongly from the beginning. Quintanilla had a pretty good fight with Matthias Walkner on the sand, finally finishing the stage by just nine seconds ahead of the Austrian. “I’ve cut Ricky quite some time, but the difference between us is still big. Luckily I have miles ahead this Friday to attack,” said Quintanilla, who does not throw in the towel. Brabec, meanwhile, has been limited to controlling the race and managing the 25-minute lead before it started this Thursday. He doesn’t say it, but he starts to see the Tuareg trophy in his hands. “I have run at 70% so that I don’t get tired anymore and not force the bike. I’m just happy that I reached the end, now I just think about reaching the finish tomorrow,” said the American.
Honda’s teamwork in recent days has, in part, been the key to Brabec’s success. This Thursday, without going any further, Joan Barreda from Castellón came out first, just ahead of his American team-mate. And from kilometer 212 of the special they have rolled side by side. “I rode for Ricky, who already has the victory to play,” said Torreblanca, who for the first week did not find the rhythm (he arrived discomfort in the ribs for a fall while s (he trained in the days before the Dakar), ended up mortgaging his options to the final triumph, and ended up doing teamwork to to protect the leader of the general. And although his idea was to try to fight for the final podium, he lost almost 15 minutes on Thursday and thus dropped to fifth.
The X-Raid team looks for the double
If Brabec has the title to play in the motorcycle category, Carlos Sainz, next to his co-driver, Lucas Cruz, is about to be awarded his third Dakar (he won the rally in 2010 and in 2018). This Thursday, the man from Madrid has also come out with conservative mode enabled. He had little to gain and much to lose, and more having to open the track after yesterday’s win. Stéphane Peterhansel, on the other hand, knows he has to gas if he wants to finish second and get a double for the X-Raid team. With the victory more than 10 minutes behind, the Frenchman, who on Thursday re-imposed himself and achieved his 80th stage victory in the Dakar, was only six seconds behind the second place general, Nasser Al-Attiyah, who finished second.
“Generally, it is extremely difficult to gain minutes on the court. Instead, when navigation errors are made, large holes are opened. We have given everything, we have attacked from beginning to end and we have cut back several minutes but it has not been If Carlos confirms the forecasts and wins the test, he will be great for the team, “assured Monsieur Dakar.
374 kilometers more
Qiddiya, a city 40 kilometers from the capital, Riyadh, which was started two years ago with a focus on culture and entertainment, will be the final destination for Dakar participants. For this Friday, the rally organizers have prepared a special 447 kilometers, of which 374 will be timed.