Results from 2020 Dakar Rally where Kevin Benavides bounces back with the stage seven win, Ricky Brabec strengthens his overall lead and off road loses a hero, Paulo Gonçalves.
After a battery charging rest day riders had the longest day of the 2020 Dakar Rally to contend with on stage seven with 741 kilometres to be covered. Kevin Benavides took the stage win finishing 1m:23s ahead of Honda teammate Joan Barreda and 4m:17s ahead of Matthias Walkner.
Today was also a day when rally racing showed one its darkest faces with the loss of Paulo Gonçalves. As we reported earlier, the Portuguese rider suffered fatal injuries following a crash 276 kilometres into today’s special.
As a mark of respect to the Portuguese rider and his family, stage eight tomorrow has been cancelled.
At the front of the race today and without knowing the tragedy on the course until he finished, Ricky Brabec put in another strong performance and stretched his lead overall to 24m:48s.
Speaking after the stage, the rally leader spoke for many when he said: “On arriving we heard the news about Paulo. We all know that motorcycling is a dangerous sport, but today is a really sad day for the people of Cross-Country Rallies. Our thoughts are with the family.
“The race standings don’t mean anything anymore. It’s secondary. Life goes way beyond sport.”
Brabec's Honda teammate, Kevin Benavides got his first stage win in 2020 after falling out of contention for the overall on the previous day of racing when his engine stopped running. The Argentinian dedicated the win to his former teammate Goncalves on an Instagram post.
Joan Barreda was initially given the fastest time, but the rider with most Dakar stage wins currently racing had to concede second today when time was handed back to Kevin Benavides – Benavides was among a number of riders arriving and attending to the fallen Goncalves on the stage including Toby Price and Stefan Svitko who are both reported to have been at the scene for a considerable time.
Matthias Walkner posted the third fastest time today clocking an average speed of over 100km/h as a measure of the speed of the stage. Walkner is currently second best placed KTM in sixth, over 33 minutes down from race leader Brabec.
Second overall, Pablo Quintanilla finished down in eighth, which wasn’t perfect as he nursed a hand injury. At time of writing the finishing positions in the top 10 are not quite clear as time is due to be awarded back to some riders, including Price.
Dakar Rally 2020, Stage 7 results:
Dakar Rally 2020, overall results after stage 7:
Full results: Dakar.com/rankingsPhoto Credit: Rally Zone Igor AguadoEnduro21 Junior EditorIgor.email@example.com