Monster Energy Can-Am Team holds first and second in SSV T4 category on Dakar rest day in Ha’il

The Monster Energy Can-Am Team is the operation to beat at the half-way point of the gruelling 2021 Dakar Rally in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

As teams take advantage of a much-needed day of rest in the north-central city of Ha’il, the four Monster Energy Can-Am Maverick X3s are classified in first, second, sixth and 15th places among what started out as a massive 44-strong line-up of production lightweight vehicles in the new SSV T4 category.

Polish driver Aron Domżala won the fourth stage and has never been outside the top three since the Prologue in Jeddah on January 2nd. He and navigator Maciej Marton finished third, fourth, seventh, first, fourth and fourth on the six demanding desert stages that took teams from Jeddah and through the southern Saudi deserts, via Bisha, Wadi ad-Dawasir, Riyadh, Al-Qaisumah and on to Ha’il.

With Chilean rival Francisco Lopez dropping over an hour on the last stage before the rest day following an accident on a sand dune, that misfortune lifted Domżala into an outright 40-second lead over Monster Energy Can-Am team-mate Austin Jones.

Speaking after the demanding fifth stage, the leading Pole said: « The last three stages were for tourists compared to that stage. It was really technical with hard dunes and tricky navigation. We’re in a great battle with Chaleco (Lopez). In the dunes he has incredible speed but there are still a lot of stages to go. »

Young American Jones and his Brazilian co-driver Gustavo Gugelmin crew the second of the four Monster Energy Can-Ams. Jones was the early leader of the rally after winning both the Prologue and the opening stage to Bisha. He slipped to fifth after stage two and moved up to second overall on the sixth test after running in third for the last three days.

Brazilian Reinaldo Varela and Spaniard Gerard Farrés are taking part in the third and fourth of the Monster Energy-backed Can-Ams and hold sixth and 15th at the rest day with their respective co-drivers Maykel Justo and Armand Monleón.

Varela had been running as high as fourth overall after SS1, but navigational problems cost him valuable time, as did a minor accident. Farrés climbed as high as third overall after stage two, but the Spaniard lost two and a half hours on stage five and the second quickest time on the stage into Ha’il was the former enduro rider’s best return thus far. Electrical issues and a fuel problem have also plagued the Spaniard, but the team rectified the fuel issue in time for the Spaniard to record his impressive sixth stage time.

Monster Can-Am Team’s Scott Abraham said: « This has been a dominant display from the Monster Energy Can-Am Team. Once again, it has been phenomenal to watch all the drivers fighting at the front of the field. Aron and Austin have put on a fantastic show and are separated by mere seconds. Definitely the second week will be challenging. With memories of the first week of Dakar 2020, with extreme conditions, there could still be another factor with the weather coming into play.
« There is a long way to go, but the team’s in really good shape and Reinaldo is still in with a shout. Unfortunately, because of the fuel issues we had earlier, Gerard is on the back foot. But he has done a phenomenal performance to charge from the back of the category on Friday to take second on the stage. We are all looking forward to a strong second week and, hopefully, to bring all the cars to the podium in Jeddah. »

The Dakar Rally resumes on Sunday with a selective section from Ha’il to Sakaka, as the route winds its way through the cooler northern deserts during the second week, taking in additional night halts in Neom, Al-Ula and Yanbu before the finish in Jeddah next Friday.

Support for the Monster Energy Can-Am Team comes from Method Wheels, Tensor Tires, Motul, Jjuan Brake Systems, Bell, Lazer and OMP.

2021 Dakar Rally – SSV T4 positions in Ha’il:
1. Aron Domzala (POL)/Maciej Marton (POL) Monster Energy Can-Am Maverick X3, 27hrs 04min 29sec
2. Austin Jones (USA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) Monster Energy Can-Am Maverick X3, 27hrs 05min 09sec
3. Francisco Lopez (CHI)/Juan Pablo Latrach (CHI) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3, 27hrs 40min 20sec
4. Sergei Kariakin (RUS)/Anton Vlasiuk (RUS) Can-Am Maverick X3, 27hrs 41min 6sec
5. Michal Goczal )POL)/Szymon Gospodarczk (POL) Energylandia Can-Am Maverick X3, 27hrs 41min 19sec
6. Reinaldo Varela (BRA)/Maykel Justo (BRA) Monster Energy Can-Am Maverick X3, 28hrs 29min 40sec
7. Saleh Al-Saif (SAU)/Oriol Vidal (ESP) Can-Am Maverick X3, 28hrs 34min 37sec
8. Jose Antonio Lopez (ESP)/Diego Ortego Gil (ESP) Can-Am Maverick X3, 28hrs 43min 52sec
9. Khalifa Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Paolo Ceci (ITA) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3, 29hrs 24 min 23sec
10. Lourenço Rosa (PRT)/Joaquim Dias (PRT) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3, 29hrs 53min 55sec
11. Kees Koolen (NLD)/Jurgen van den Goorbergh (NLD) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 29hrs 53min 57sec
12. Marek Goczal )POL)/Rafal Marton (POL) Energylandia Can-Am Maverick X3, 29hrs 54min 44sec
13. Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Antonio Gimeno Garcia (ESP) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3, 30hrs 09min 29sec…
15. Gerard Farrés (ESP)/Armand Monleón (ESP) Monster Energy Can-Am Maverick X3, 30hrs 17min 06sec…
23. Saeed Al-Mouri (SAU)/Sergio Lafuente (URY) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3, 34hrs 09min 04sec…

Neil Perkins,

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