The eighth stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally formed the second and final leg of the event’s gruelling marathon stage. Heading south west to Neom on the Red Sea coast, the stage opened with technical, rocky terrain before following sandy tracks in the second half where accurate navigation was needed to ensure a strong finish on the 375-kilometre special. Upon completion and after 828 kilometres of racing with no technical support, Ross and Adrien were reunited with their team in the bivouac where mechanics will now prepare the bikes for tomorrow’s stage nine.
Overcoming a difficult stage seven, where he lost valuable time, Ross Branch focused on a trouble-free ride to safely complete the second leg of the event’s marathon stage. Opting to ride at a conservative pace throughout stage eight, Branch crossed the finish as the 11th fastest rider to successfully reach the bivouac in Neom. Now, the team’s mechanics will repair the crash damage on his Yamaha WR450F Rally machine while Ross will concentrate on delivering a positive end to this year’s rally.
Adrien Van Beveren continues to post consistent results at the 2021 Dakar Rally. Knowing the importance of successfully completing the marathon stage unscathed, the Frenchman ended the day in 13th and looks forward to the upcoming stages, which are set to take place on terrain more to his liking. Currently 14th in the provisional standings, Adrien is poised and ready to break into the overall top 10 during the days ahead.
Franco Caimi’s participation in this year’s rally came to an unfortunate end on stage eight where a technical issue, close to the finish, ruled the Argentine out of the event.
Stage nine of the 2021 Dakar Rally is a loop stage beginning in Neom on the sandy shore of the Red Sea. After a brief time on smooth sand, the 465-kilometre special takes riders inland on sandy tracks that form much of the stage’s terrain. Near its conclusion, competitors will need to accurately navigate their way through multiple rocky canyons to secure a strong result.