Stage two of the 2021 Dakar Rally saw the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team take on the first sand dunes of the event. With their navigational skills put to the test throughout the technical stage, the team ended the day optimistic about the stages ahead and looking forward to the coming days in the sand dunes.
Setting off in 15th position proved highly advantageous for Ross Branch as he went on to finish in fourth place following an impeccable ride throughout the technical 457-kilometre special. Attacking the sand dunes at the start of the stage he rode confidently, chasing down the leading riders. With Ross never falling outside the top six throughout the stage, the Yamaha WR450F Rally mounted rider now finds himself placed third in the provisional overall classification, just 14 seconds down on the second placed rider.
After just over four and a half hours in the saddle, Adrien Van Beveren came home in sixth place to continue his strong start to the rally. Taking to the start in 13th following his result on the opening stage proved highly advantageous as he was able to focus on following the lines left in the deep sand by the competitors ahead of him. Despite riding through dust at times, he remained focused, going on to record another strong finish. The Frenchman now sits sixth in the provisional overall classification.
Jamie McCanney continues to learn the ropes of rally racing. After coming close to crashing early on in the stage, the Manxman then found himself passed by some much more experienced riders, temporarily knocking his confidence. Quickly regrouping, he then made a navigational error, which cost him valuable time. Despite his frustrations, Jamie placed 19th and heads into tomorrow very much focused on riding his own race.
It was a frustrating stage two for Franco Caimi. Following his impressive seventh place finish on stage one, a minor technical issue slowed his pace early on. Once that was resolved he charged forwards, able to claw back some of the lost time to end the stage in 31st. With tomorrow’s stage again set to feature a lot of sand, Franco will be able to capitalise on the tracks left before him and focus on his riding as he aims to return to the top 10 in the overall classification.
In placing 12th on the event’s opening stage, Andrew Short started the Dakar Rally on a positive note. Unfortunately, a technical issue just past the halfway point of stage two brought the American’s participation in this year’s event to an untimely end.
Stage three of the 2021 Dakar Rally is a loop stage that starts from, and returns to, Wadi Ad-Dawasir. The 629 km stage features a 403 km special and provides a real challenge of mixed terrain including dunes and technical canyons, linked together with high-speed sections.