Ricky Brabec has moved 20 minutes clear after Stage 6 of Dakar 2020 while a tyre problem saw Toby Price give up more than a quarter of an hour.
Price, the Stage 5 winner, had the less than ideal task of opening the road on the sandy, 477km sixth special stage from Ha’il to Riyadh and gradually fell almost eight minutes off the pace by the penultimate waypoint.
The Australian lost more than that amount of time again prior to the stage finish having come to a stop, which he reported was due to the rear tyre coming off his Red Bull KTM.
Price completed the stage 16:33s slower than Brabec and dropped to third in the general classification, 25:39s behind the American.
Brabec was within a minute of the stage leader at the first three waypoints and took over top spot thereafter.
He won the day by 1:34s over Monster Energy Honda team-mate Joan Barreda Bort and now enjoys a 20:56s buffer over Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla with six stages down and six to go.
“Today was a big day,” said Brabec.
“Today was our first day in the sand – our first day of 100 percent sand – so it’s pretty good.
“I’m excited to have made it here. I’m excited to have made it to the top in the general standings.
“There’s six days left of racing; so a lot can happen, but for right now, we’re going to go and get some rest, we’re going to see what happens with the results today and try to plan something for the day after the rest day.”
Quintanilla was also disadvantaged by road position, starting just after Price, but restricted his losses to 4:55s with the fourth fastest time of the day.
Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (Monster Energy Honda) is fourth overall, two seconds behind Price, having been sixth on the stage, while Barreda Bort holds fifth for the event.
Red Bull KTM’s Matthias Walkner managed the third fastest time of the day but the 2018 champion is still more than half an hour back from the overall lead in sixth, due to time lost a day prior.
Kevin Benavides has plummeted to a four-hour deficit despite having trailed team-mate Brabec by only 25 seconds at the penultimate waypoint.
The Argentine’s Honda suffered an engine problem and while he eventually finished the stage, he dropped from third overall to 28th.
Competitors now have a rest day before Stage 7 takes them from the capital to Wadi Al Dawasir, with 546km of special stage running along the way.
General classification: Bikes (Top 10)
|4||Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo||CHI||Honda||+0:25:41|
|5||Joan Barreda Bort||ESP||Honda||+0:32:58|