Date: Wednesday 13th January
Location: Neom > AlUla
Distance: 241km liaison + 342km special
After today’s stage, the competitors only have two more stages left of the 2021 Dakar Rally to seal their fate in the final standings. Today saw the pack head from the coastal city of Neom, to the ancient city of AlUla in the mountains. AlUla is known for being the home of UNESCO world heritage site Hegra, and its Herculean natural monuments that are dotted through the desert.
Yazeed Al Rajii took the stage win, his second of the 2021 rally, by just over two minutes to Nasser Al-Attiyah. Stephane Peterhansel trailed the pair in third place, taking the final podium spot.
Overdrive Toyota driver Al Rajhi took the lead at the second way point, after starting fourth on the road. The Saudi took a commanding lead, leaving Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel to battle it out in the dust trail behind him.
X-Raid Mini JCW Team driver Peterhansel was able to cling onto the overall lead by seventeen minutes to Al-Attiyah, despite getting lost on stage and losing a chunk of time correcting the navigational mistake. Al-Attiyah was able to close in on Peterhansel in the overall standings by finishing 49 seconds ahead.
Carlos Sainz was able to hold onto third overall in the championship after putting the hammer down through the latter parts of the stage after posting times outside the top ten through the early kilometres. The four time Dakar winner recovered to finish fourth on the stage, just less than a minute ahead of Jakub Przygonski.
- Yazeed Al Rajhi / Dirk Von Zitzewitz – Overdrive Toyota – 03:03:57s
- Nasser Al-Attiyah / Matthieu Baumel – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 03:06:01s
- Stephane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 03:06:50s
Overall classification after Stage 10:
- Stephane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 37:33:06s
- Nasser Al-Attiyah / Matthieu Baumel – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 37:50:07s
- Carlos Sainz / Lucas Cruz – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 38:36:50s
Kevin Benevides is back in the lead of the overall standings after only dropping five minutes to stage winner Ricky Brabec over the 342 kilometre test. Benevides looked like he was on for a stage win, however Brabec caught up with the Argentinian at the 70 kilometre mark even after starting 17 minutes down. The Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 rider is now 50 seconds off the top spot in the overall standings going into the penultimate stage. Joan Barreda split his team-mates up in the order, finishing in second overall.
Overnight leader Jose Cornejo was looking to extend his lead through the tenth stage of the Dakar with a conservative ride through the desert, remaining in control throughout until at the 252 kilometre mark, the Chilean hit a rock and suffered a hard impact leaving him with a severe injury. Cornejo surprisingly continued and finished the stage but was advised to withdraw from the competition by the medical team. This was a devastating blow for the Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 rider.
Elsewhere KTM Factory Team rider Daniel Sanders and Sam Sunderland were caught out by the navigation with both riders having to make up time over the stage to correct it. Sunderland remains third in the overall standings for the Red Bull KTM Factory Team despite finishing with the eighth fastest time.
Lightweights category is going to be really tight to the line on Friday with all the top drivers Francisco Lopez and Austin Jones within ten minutes of each other in the general standings after today’s stage.
Lopez started at the front of the group, having won yesterday’s stage. Naturally Lopez lost time and was off the pace.
In a surprise turn, Sergei Kariakin won the category with a 29 second margin to Austin Jones. With Jones finishing in second place, the young American has gained two minutes on the overall leader Lopez going into stage eleven.
Aron Domzala holds onto third overall after placing tenth on the stage, one place behind Kris Meeke.
Martin Macik took his second stage win in a row, in the truck category, despite losing his front window of his Big Shock Racing Iveco during the test. The Czech holds fifth in the general standings 12 minutes adrift of fellow countryman Ales Loprais who’s up ahead in fourth place overall.
Loprais had a less than perfect day, with the Czech unhappy with being sandwiched between the Kamaz Masters through the majority of the stage, unable to get past and in the Dakar Daily highlights, he implied the team were playing games with him.
Overall truck leader Dmitry Sotnikov held onto his lead, with the Red Bull-backed Kamaz trio of Sotnikov, Anton Shibalov and Airat Mardeev topping the standings after stage ten. Loprais sits 20 minutes down on Mardeev.
- Ricky Brabec – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 03:12:33s
- Joan Barreda Bort – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 03:15:48s
- Kevin Benavides – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 03:17:44s
Overall after stage 10:
- Kevin Benavides – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 40:20:08s
- Ricky Brabec – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 40:20:59s
- Sam Sunderland – Red Bull KTM Factory Team – 40:30:44s
- Sergei Kariakin / Anton Vlasiuk – Snag Racing Team – 03:31:17s
- Austin Jones / Gustavo Gugelmin – Monster Energy Can-Am – 03:31:46s
- Khalifa Al-Attiyah / Paolo Ceci – South Racing Can-Am – 03:32:58s
Overall after stage 10:
- Francisco Lopez Contardo / Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre – South Racing Can-Am – 45:39:18s
- Austin Jones / Gustavo Gugelmin – Monster Energy Can-Am – 45:49:31s
- Aron Domzala / Maciej Marton – Monster Energy Can-Am – 46:21:59s
- Martin Macik / Frantisek Tomasek / David Svanda – Big Shock Racing – 03:13:02s
- Dmitry Sotnikov / Ruslan Akhmadeev / Ilgiz Akhmetzianov – Kamaz-Master – 03:14:42s
- Airat Mardeev / Dmitriy Svistunov / Akhmet Galiautdinov – Kamaz Master – 03:16:18s
Overall after stage 10:
- Dmitry Sotnikov / Ruslan Akhmadeev / Ilgiz Akhmetzianov – Kamaz-Master – 40:57:31s
- Anton Shibalov / Dmitrii Nikitin / Ivan Tatarinov – Kamaz-Master – 41:44:53s
- Airat Mardeev / Dmitriy Svistunov / Akhmet Galiautdinov – Kamaz Master – 42:12:12s