The final fight for podium intensifies as Dakar Rally completes 10 of 12 stages

– Hero Motosports maintiains their NO.2 spot

Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport team of the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters – Hero MotoCorp, completed the 10th Stage of Dakar 2024 with their Rally GP Class pilot Ross Branch crossing the finish line in the 6th fastest time of the day.

Hero’s sole pilot left in the race – Ross Branch – continues on the 2nd overall position – a spot he has been holding intact for the last 8 consecutive days. As the rally entered its final leg, the fight for the podium has become extremely intense among the top competitors.

Set amidst the monumental rocks of the centuries-old AlUla, Stage 10 was considered to a long, yet easy Stage to tackle. However, even though the start of the Stage had a lot of fast tracks, it soon started puzzling the competitors with tough navigational challenges. The 371 km special was mostly sandy tracks and off-piste, lined with tough rocky sections. Completing the loop, competitors have arrived back at the bivouac in AlUla.

For Ross Branch, who started the day at the 5 position, the early kilometers were fast, and he maintained a lead position for quite some kilometers as well. Later on, he caught up with a few fellow competitors and they spent most of the Stage together. A slight navigational mistake towards the latter part of the day cost the Botswanan rider some dear time, eventually leading to his 6th place finish today in the Rally GP Class. In the overall rankings, his gap has widened a bit further to over 10 minutes from the current leader of the race. The competition from the 3rd and 4th spots is also closing in heavy on him. However, the ‘Kalahari Ferrari’ is confident of delivering his best performance in the 11th long Stage of Dakar 2024, which most likely is expected to seal the final rankings of this edition.

Moving on to its final leg, the Dakar caravan will head towards its final destination in Stage 11. Stretching for a long 420 kms in Special, and another 107 kms in liaison, the route from AlUla to Yanbu features mostly fast pistes, rocky and stony, rugged terrains set amidst mighty canyons. This final long Stage has the potential to shake up the Dakar 2024 podium positions, and is likely to be tough on the tires.

Ross Branch: « Stage 10 is over and done with! It was a really nice stage, I had a lot of fun on the bike, and the terrain suited me well too. Unfortunately, the navigation was a bit tricky, and I made a small mistake that cost me a bit of time. I was really pushing this morning, and I rode with Toby Price and Pablo Quintanilla for most of the day. I’m back here in one piece, the bike’s good, I’m good, and we look forward to the last 2 days. I’m grateful for all the support we’re receiving from all over – it means a lot to us as a team. It’s not the end of the race yet; I’m going to push on till the last kilometer. We will continue the fight to fly our flag high. »

Provisional Rankings – Stage 10 (Rally GP Class)
1. Ricky Brabec, Monster Energy Honda Team, 03h 51m 39s
2. Ignacio Cornejo, Monster Energy Honda Team, + 0m 02s
3. Adrien Van Beveren, Monster Energy Honda Team, + 0m 20s…
6. Ross Branch, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 3m 45s…

Provisional Overall Rankings – at the end of Stage 10
1. Ricky Brabec, Monster Energy Honda Team, 44h 45m 28s
2. Ross Branch, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, + 10m 54s
3. Adrien Van Beveren, Monster Energy Honda Team, + 11m 46s
4. Ignacio Cornejo, Monster Energy Honda Team ,+ 13m 48s
5. Kevin Benavides, RedBull KTM Factory Racing, + 32m 43s…