José Ignacio Cornejo was the man of the day during the second part of the marathon stage at the Empty Quarter. This was the second stage victory for Monster Energy Honda Team during this Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. On the arrival at Shaybah bivouac, the Chilean was 49 seconds faster than Daniel Sanders and had 1:48 minutes to Toby Price.
Stage number 12 was 185 km long and a quite fast route, in a mix between dunes and quick sand tracks. Pablo Quintanilla arrived in seventh position with a gap of 03:06 minutes, while Adrien Van Beveren was ninth with a gap of 03:16 minutes to Nacho. Quintanilla kept his fourth position in the overall standings (14:45 minutes to the leader), Van Beveren maintained his fifth position (16:14 minutes to the leader) and Nacho was still eighth (23:14 minutes to the leader).
Now it’s time to work hard on the Honda’s CRF 450 Rally, since they were lacking assistance for the past two days due to the rules of the marathon stage.
With only two more days to go, tomorrow it’s time for the 13th stage. There will be a very long liaison of 520 kilometers in the connection between Shaybah and Al-Hofuf. The special section will be 153 km long and this departure from the Empty Quarter will certainly be decisive. It will be the last chance to surf on its chain of dunes and also to fight for the top standings. It will be a short but quite intense ride where physical and mechanical endurance can play an important role.
Ruben Faria - General Manager: “The marathon stage is over and we have overcome with great determination the hard terrain at the Empty Quarter. All our riders got back safe and our Honda's CRF 450 Rally also came back in great conditions and will now be revised for the penultimate stage. Days will get shorter in terms of racing as we reach the end of this Dakar Rally and tomorrow is another decisive day for us. We are fighting to climb in the top standings and that was clear today. Nacho had a great performance and we are happy with another stage win. The team is united and strong so let’s see how it goes in these last two days. ”
José Ignacio Cornejo 11: “Well today I had a good stage, quite solid. Felt quite good on my Honda CRF 450 Rally and tried to push as much as I could. I had a lot of fun in the dunes. I have won a stage and that feels good, especially for my confidence. This did not influence the overall results due to the short distances between all contenders, so I kept my eighth place. I will keep fighting in the last two days because this is Dakar and anything can happen. ”
Pablo Quintanilla 7: “First of all I would like to say that we have done the marathon stage without any problems in our Honda CRF 450 Rally. It was quite hard to cross the Empty Quarter and we all succeeded. The terrain was super hard for the machines and for us. Happy to finish one more day. The race is not over yet so let's keep the focus.”
Adrien Van Beveren 42: “Today I started behind but did not have that much dunes to race. The stage was shorter and I went as fast as I could go. Dakar is never finished until you cross the line so let’s see what we can do. I will do my best until the last meter, that is for sure!”
Source Monster Energy Honda Team