Heading west throughout stage six, riders reached the town of Ha’il following a 347-kilometre special. Taking riders through sandy tracks early on, competitors were then faced with undulating sand dunes for much of the challenging stage. Now, having successfully completed six gruelling stages, riders and team staff will enjoy a well-earned rest day tomorrow, ahead of six further days of racing that begins with the event’s marathon stage on Sunday.
As the ninth rider to enter the special, Ross Branch excelled from his advantageous starting position to very nearly claim his debut stage win. Pushing hard from the start in a bid to make up time on the leading riders, Ross ended the stage agonisingly close to earning victory, just 13 seconds behind the eventual winner. More importantly, the Yamaha WR450F Rally mounted rider began the stage 11 minutes down on the provisional leader but following his excellent performance has now closed that gap to just under four minutes. Ross sits in a comfortable fourth place at the end of week one.
Another Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team rider capitalising on his starting position was Adrien Van Beveren. After a challenging day yesterday, the Frenchman returned to form, tackling the high-speed terrain found on stage six with focused determination. Maintaining a fast and consistent pace throughout the 347-kilometre special, Van Beveren placed sixth on the stage and began to chip away at the leading riders ahead, eventually making up four minutes. Adrien now looks ahead to the second week of racing with confidence.
Franco Caimi posted another consistent result on stage six. With the rest day in sight and following yesterday’s difficulties, the Argentine opted to maintain a strong rhythm throughout the special to avoid mistakes. Franco climbed as high as 10th place where he remained for much of the stage before going on to finish 13th and successfully reach the halfway point of the rally.
With stage six of the 2021 Dakar Rally now complete, Ross, Adrien, Franco, and the entire Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team will enjoy a well-earned rest day ahead of stage seven, and leg one of the rally’s two-day marathon stage on Sunday 10 January. Competitors will depart from Ha’il and head to Sakaka, reaching the most northerly point of the event upon their arrival. Riders are then permitted just 10 minutes to prepare their own machines ahead of the second marathon stage leg.