Benavides wins Dakar Stage 7 after reclassification

Kevin Benavides

Kevin Benavides has won Stage 7 of the Dakar Rally in the Bikes after he was credited with the time spent attempting to assist the late Paulo Goncalves on stage.

Goncalves was pronounced dead in hospital after falling 276km into the special stage between Riyadh and Wadi Al Dawasir, which had prompted a number of riders to stop to assist.

Joan Barreda Bort had originally won the huge 546km special but was officially declared second to his Monster Energy Honda team-mate Benavides by 1:23s.

Fellow factory Honda rider Ricky Brabec continues to lead overall by an increased margin of 24:48s having finished fifth on Stage 7 after the adjustments for Benavides, Toby Price, and Stefan Svitko (Slovnaft KTM).

Price had completed the stage an hour and 23 minutes slower than Barreda Bort had, but was restored to seventh for the day with a time 7:57s slower than Benavides’, and 6:34s slower than the original stage winner’s.

The Red Bull KTM rider nevertheless dropped a spot in the overall classification to fourth, 28:44s behind Brabec.

Price’s team-mate Matthias Walkner was classified third for the stage but gained only 35 seconds on Brabec and remains over half an hour back in sixth overall.

Luciano Benavides was a position behind Walkner in both the stage and general classification on another factory KTM.

Brabec’s nearest rival is still Pablo Quintanilla, who was eighth on the stage on his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, while Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (Monster Energy Honda) edged ahead of Price but is 27:01s off the overall lead.

Barreda Bort is the last rider within half an hour of Brabec after seven stages.

Only four remain, however, after organisers decided to cancel Stage 8 for the Bikes and Quads to allow riders to grieve for Goncalves.

That was to have been a loop stage, while Stage 9 on Tuesday (local time) will take competitors from Wadi Al Dawasir to Haradh.

General classification: Bikes (Top 10)

Pos Rider Nat Make Time/Gap
1 Ricky Brabec USA Honda 28:25:01
2 Pablo Quintanilla CHI Husqvarna +0:24:48
3 Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo CHI Honda +0:27:01
4 Toby Price AUS KTM +0:28:44
5 Joan Barreda Bort ESP Honda +0:29:29
6 Matthias Walkner AUT KTM +0:33:04
7 Luciano Benavides ARG KTM +0:38:58
8 Skyler Howes USA Husqvarna +1:15:02
9 Franco Caimi ARG Yamaha +1:15:31
10 Stefan Svitko SVK KTM +1:19:41

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