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Dakar 2021, Stage 11: Sunderland slashes Benavides' lead

KTM rider Sam Sunderland took a major chunk of time out of Dakar Rally leader Kevin Benavides on the penultimate stage, with four minutes splitting the pair heading into the final day.

Sunderland scored his first stage win of the 2021 Dakar on the shortened 464km Al Ula-Yanbu stage, more than halving the 10-minute deficit he faced to Honda man Benavides.

The British rider, who is chasing a second Dakar win, took control at the 215km mark and from there extended an advantage of 2m40s over Husqvarna's Pablo Quintanilla.

Benavides was third-fastest, dropping 6m24s on Sunderland to give himself a buffer of 4m12s heading into Friday's decisive stage.

Ricky Brabec's hopes of defending his 2020 title look to be fading fast after the American rider conceded six minutes to Benavides and nearly 13 to Sunderland.

The Honda rider opened the road following his victory on Wednesday, but was quickly caught by Benavides as the two rode in tandem for the majority of the stage.

Brabec goes into the final stage of the rally 7m13s down on Benavides.

Joan Barreda meanwhile has officially joined Honda teammate Jose Ignacio Cornejo on the retirements list after running out of fuel on the stage. The Spaniard, the winner of three stages on this year's event, has been airlifted to the Yanbu bivouac.

KTM rookie Daniel Sanders was fourth on the stage, and with Barreda and Cornejo both out, he now finds himself in the same position overall, 33 minutes off the lead.

Privateer Skyler Howes (KTM) has just 19 seconds in hand over Sherco rider Lorenzo Santolino in the fight for fifth place, while Quintanilla is up to seventh.

Adrian van Beveren, the only Yamaha factory rider still in the event, climbs to eighth.

Standings after Stage 11 (Top 10):

Pos.

Rider

Bike

Time/Gap

1

Argentina Kevin Benavides

Honda

45h01m44s

2

United Kingdom Sam Sunderland

KTM

4m12s

3

United States Ricky Brabec

Honda

7m13s

4

Australia Daniel Sanders

KTM

33m05s

5

United States Skyler Howes

KTM

49m07s

6

Spain Lorenzo Santolino

Sherco

49m26s

7

Chile Pablo Quintanilla

Husqvarna

1h00m18s

8

France Adrien van Beveren

Yamaha

1h20m46s

9

Slovakia Stefan Svitko

KTM

1h26m40s

10

Czech Republic Martin Michek

KTM

2h14m55s

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About this article

Series Dakar
Event Dakar
Drivers Sam Sunderland
Teams Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Author Jamie Klein