Benavides Delighted with Dakar Podium and Final Stage Victory

by Paul Hensby

Kevin Benavides felt it was a great Dakar Rally, despite the Monster Energy Honda Team rider being forced to settle for second place overall behind Red Bull KTM’s Matthias Walkner.

The Argentine rider won the final stage on Saturday, but the damage had been done on stage ten, when Benavides was one of a number of riders to get lost in the second half of the stage, which gave Walkner a significant advantage at the head of the standings, and ultimately he finished sixteen minutes and fifty-three seconds down on the Austrian.

Despite this, Benavides felt happy with his performance, especially with a podium finish in such a tough Dakar, and he felt good that he was able to keep fighting right until the very end.

“It’s been a great Dakar,” said Benavides. “I’m really happy and I felt great. It’s been really tough. We fought right up until the end.

“We always had a great strategy. We were always on the podium and were even leading the race at one point. It’s a shame about what happened in stage ten, but we have to keep looking forward.

“We’ve finished second overall and we have won the final stage, which we knew we could.”

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