Kevin Benavides will head into the second week of the Dakar Rally as the outright leader of the bikes class, with the Monster Energy Honda Team racer having taken over at the front from Adrien van Beveren during Thursday’s sixth stage.
In doing so, Benavides became the first Argentine rider to lead the Dakar Rally, and he admitted it was above his expectations heading into the event that he would be at the head of the field heading into the first of the Bolivian stages on Saturday.
Benavides is looking to make the most of the rest day on Friday to recuperate and prepare himself for the tough stages to come in Bolivia and Argentina across the next eight days.
“I am very proud because it is the first time that an Argentine rider has led the Dakar Rally,” said Benavides, who is one minute and fifty-seven seconds clear of van Beveren after the first six stages. “I’m very happy too, because the idea was to get as high up the rankings as possible before the rest stage, so I can not be happier.
“I’m a little tired, we’ve had rain, mud, fast roads. But I was fast and felt comfortable on the bike. Now we have a day to rest and prepare the second week.”