Date: Friday 8th January 2021
Location: Al Qaisumah > Ha’il
Length: 170km liaison + 448km special
Stage six marks the halfway point of the 2021 Dakar Rally, with tomorrow’s rest day breaking the proceedings in two. Today the start was delayed by one and a half hours due to the difficulties many competitors faced whilst finishing yesterday’s stage between Riyadh and Al Qaisumah – it has also been shortened by 100km. Carlos Sainz was a force to be reckoned with, as he was eager to make up for lost time, Seth Quintero set new winners records and Toby Price retook the lead in the bike category.
X Raid Mini JCW Team’s Carlos Sainz was determined to make up for the bad luck experienced through the previous five stages, with his efforts previously plagued by navigational issues. The Spaniard was the quickest through every way point and was relieved to finally have a clean stage. Sainz won by four minutes to Yazeed Al Rajhi, to claim his 38th Dakar stage victory and second of 2021’s competition. Overall, Sainz is third 40 minutes adrift of leading duo, team-mate Stephane Peterhansel and Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah. Peterhansel held onto the overall lead despite Al-Attiyah pipping the Frenchman to the post to take third place, towards the end of the stage with the Qatari 17 seconds ahead.
Yesterday’s stage winner Giniel De Villiers found the dunes of stage six tricky, having suffered multiple punctures along the stage, arriving at the finish line with the eighth fastest time.
Sebastien Loeb encountered even more rotten luck less than 100 kilometres into the stage, with his Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter suffering from a broken suspension arm. Awaiting the repair and the repair time itself, pushed Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena back by over ten hours, placing them 54th in the stage rankings. It wasn’t where the pair wanted to be at the halfway point, with their overall position dropping to 44th from 20th. Team-mate Nani Roma finished the stage seventh fastest, moving the Spaniard to fifth overall. Consistency in performance has played into Roma’s hands, displaying better fortunes than Loeb.
- Carlos Sainz / Lucas Cruz – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 03:38:37s
- Yazeed Al Rajhi / Dirk Von Zitzewitz – Overdrive Toyota – 03:42:30s
- Nasser Al-Attiyah / Matthieu Baumel – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 03:45:43s
Overall classification after Stage 6:
- Stephane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 18:27:02s
- Nasser Al-Attiyah / Matthieu Baumel – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 18:34:13s
- Carlos Sainz / Lucas Cruz – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 19:16:15s
BIKES / LIGHTWEIGHT / TRUCKS
Joan Barreda closed in on the record number of dakar wins in the bikes category, having secured his 26th career win, knocking on the door of a previous record set by Stephane Peterhansel. It also marked the Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 rider’s third win of the 2021 competition.
After having won the bike category yesterday, Kevin Benevides opened the stage for the competitors, but this disadvantage left him fourteenth in the standings through the stage.
KTM Factory Team’s Daniel Sanders put in a strong performance, finishing third on stage six, 53 seconds behind Barreda. Splitting the pair was Botswana’s Ross Branch, who finished a mere 13 seconds adrift of the winning time – this places him on the same overall time as Xavier De Soutrais of 24:12:24s.
Jose Cornejo now sits third overall, after clearing Benevides through the early part of the stage to lead the pack to Ha’il.
After a rollercoaster of a first half of the rally raid, Toby Price managed to recover the overall category lead to over two minutes.
Francisco Lopez went into stage six with a ten minute lead over second placed Khalifa Al-Attiyah, but the Chilean lost over an hour, and the lead, due to a mechanical problem finishing the stage with the 28th fastest time. Al-Attiyah finished the stage in second place, 23 seconds off the leader Seth Quintero.
It was a record-breaking run for Red Bull Off-Road Team USA’s Quintero, who after winning the class today, has become the youngest ever Dakar stage winner at 18 years and 118 days old. The American has now moved up to third place in the general ranking.
Poland’s Aron Domzala clung onto the category lead, after finishing the stage in fifth place.
Kamaz-Master asserted their dominance in the truck category, after placing 1-2-3 in the stage and overall standings at the halfway mark. The stage saw Airat Mardeev from Dmitry Sotnikov and Anton Shibalov with five minutes separating the trio as they rolled into Ha’il. Sotnikov still leads the overall standings with a 37 minute lead over Shibalov.
Martin Macik lost third place overall after finishing the stage 12 minutes down on leader Mardeev, demoting the Pole to fourth.
- Joan Barreda Bort – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 03:45:27s
- Ross Branch – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 03:45:40s
- Daniel Sanders – KTM Factory Team – 03:46:20s
Overall after stage 6:
- Toby Price – Red Bull KTM Factory Team – 24:08:43s
- Kevin Benavides – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 24:10:59s
- Jose Cornejo – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 24:11:40s
- Seth Quintero / Dennis Zenz – Red Bull Off-Road Team USA – 04:20:23s
- Khalifa Al-Attiyah / Paolo Ceci – South Racing Can-Am – 04:20:46s
- Gerard Farres Guell / Armand Monleon / Monster Energy Cam-Am – 04:24:57s
Overall after stage 6:
- Austin Jones / Gustavo Gugelmin – Monster Energy Can-Am – 27:04:09s
- Aron Domzala / Maciej Marton – Monster Energy Can-Am – 27:04:29s
- Seth Quintero / Dennis Zenz – Red Bull Off-Road Team USA – 27:12:55s
- Airat Mardeev / Dmitriy Svistunov / Akhmet Galiautdinov – Kamaz Master – 04:08:52s
- Dmitry Sotnikov / Ruslan Akhmadeev / Ilgiz Akhmetzianov – Kamaz-Master – 04:10:00s
- Anton Shibalov / Dmitrii Nikitin / Ivan Tatarinov – Kamaz-Master – 04:13:41s
Overall after stage 6:
- Dmitry Sotnikov / Ruslan Akhmadeev / Ilgiz Akhmetzianov – Kamaz-Master – 24:26:18s
- Anton Shibalov / Dmitrii Nikitin / Ivan Tatarinov – Kamaz-Master – 25:03:52s
- Airat Mardeev / Dmitriy Svistunov / Akhmet Galiautdinov – Kamaz Master – 25:28:01s