Picking-up from where they left their Dakar 2021 campaign before the rest day, Hero MotoSports Team Rally delivered yet another solid performance today with Joaquim Rodrigues registering his third Top 10 stage finish and Sebastian Buhler continuing to be steady.
JRod had a good Stage 7 to finish 9th today. Sebastian Buhler continued his steady run in the rally, bringing the stage home in the 21st place. Both riders arrived at the Marathon bivouac at Sakaka with their bikes and bodies in good condition.
With the first half of the Marathon Stage under their belt, Hero MotoSports finds both its riders in good positions in the overall rankings with Joaquim at 16th and Sebastian at 21st.
The rally will spend the night today at the Marathon bivouac, leaving the riders to tend to themselves and their machines without the comfort of their assistance crews. Therefore, arriving at the Marathon bivouac in reasonably good conditions will be critical for a good performance in the second half of the stage scheduled for tomorrow. The results of the marathon stage may ultimately set the tone for the final standings of the Dakar Rally 2021.
Stage 8 tomorrow will conclude the Marathon Stage, with 375 kms of timed special, bringing the rally to the Neom region of Saudi Arabia.
Joaquim Rodrigues (Competitor No. 27) said, « Stage 7 was going to be a tough one. I wasn’t feeling very well in the morning and couldn’t find my flow initially. But then things started to come together and I got into a good rhythm, found my pace and brought my Hero bike to the finish in Top 10. I am really happy with the outcome today as the bike and tires are in a safe and good condition for tomorrow. »
Sebastian Buhler (Competitor No. 24) said, « First part of the Marathon today was a tricky stage with a lot of rocks so we had to be careful to keep the bike and tires safe. Overall, it was a positive stage for me and I am happy to arrive at the Marathon bivouac with everything in a good condition. Hopefully we should be able to make a good stage tomorrow. »
Provisional Rankings – Stage 7
1. Ricky Brabec, Monster Energy Honda Team, 04h 37m 44s
2. Jose Ignacio Cornejo, Monster Energy Honda Team, +02m 07s
3. Skyler Howes, Bas Dakar KTM Team, +02m 19s
9. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +5m 55s
21. Sebastian Buhler, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +21m 39s
Provisional Overall Rankings at the end of Stage 7
1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo, Monster Energy Honda Team, 28h 51m 31s
2. Toby Price, RedBull KTM Factory Team, +01s
3. Sam Sunderland, RedBull KTM Factory Team, +02m 11s
16. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +45m 52s
21. Sebastian Buhler, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +01h 58m 20s