Ross Branch takes his second Dakar victory; Mason Klein returns to the lead in eighth stage
© MCH | Source:


The eighth stage of the Dakar for the RallyGP class is complete. On a day when the riders had a 346-kilometre Special, Ross Branch won his second Dakar stage - the first was stage 2 of the 2020 edition.

The Hero Motosports Team Rally rider was the 17th rider to start today's stage and from the first moment he was always in the first positions, successfully taking advantage of the tracks left by his opponents. He took the lead of the stage at KP 203 and until the end he was always in first place. He finished the stage with a final time of 3h46m18s.

Mason Klein (BAS World KTM Racing Team) was the second-best rider. The American, who was 12th to start, was already leading today's stage at KP 47 and held the lead for the first half of the stage, then gave way to Branch. From there the #9 held second place until the end and reached the finish line 93s behind the Hero man.

Daniel Sanders (Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing) was third. Being the seventh to start, the Australian relied a little on his navigation, although he also benefited from the tracks left by his competitors. In a stage where he was always in third, the #18 finished the day closing the podium and was 3m15s behind Branch.

Also in the top five were two Monster Energy Honda Team riders: Pablo Quintanilla (+6m29s) and Adrien Van Beveren (+6m35s). The Argentinean was the sixth man to start and during the stage he moved up the standings: he was seventh on KP 47, sixth on KP 147, fifth on KP 203 and took fourth place on KP295 before the end of the stage. As for Van Beveren, the Frenchman was the 11th rider to set off for another day in the desert, and by KP 90 he was fourth. He would lose one position at KP 295 to finish in fifth place.

As far as the general standings is concerned, Mason Klein is back in the lead of the Dakar - he finished the second stage as leader - with a time of 30h32m29s. Skyler Howes has given way to second place and is now only 47 seconds behind his compatriot. Kevin Benavides remains in third place, just two minutes behind Klein.

Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) drops a couple of places and is now fourth best in the race, although the gap to the lead is 3'45". Pablo Quintanilla moves up from sixth to fifth; the Chilean is now 4m32s off the overall leader.

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