The Monster Energy Honda Team tackle the first day of the Dakar’s 48 Hour Chrono stage

The Monster Energy Honda

Saudi Arabia, 16th January 2024 The new addition to this year’s Dakar Rally, the 48-Hour Chrono, has finally gotten underway today in the gargantuan Empty Quarter dunes. Although the previous editions have taken them into this daunting landscape, the riders have never encountered such a long stage, 626km of the desert will have tested both their mental and physical stamina today and into tomorrow.

Having made their way across the route as fast they could today, once the clock got to 4pm riders headed to the nearest bivouac.

Adrien Van Beveren is now on his much-favoured terrain and with a second-place finish on stage five he kept Brabec, who led for much of the day, within his sights. Less than half a minute covered them in a ding-dong battle across the dunes before the number 42 took the provisional lead after 400 km.

Currently sitting in second, Ricky Brabec is also still in the hunt on this leg judging the dunes with perfection, whilst keeping an eye on that important fuel consumption which unfortunately caught out Pablo Quintanilla. After a great stage victory yesterday, he ran out of fuel 184 km into the special test losing him over an hour and a half to the front runners. Although disappointed, the rally veteran found some fuel and rejoined the stage to try to regain as much time as he can in the overall standings and go for more stage victories after rest day.

With a reverse starting order after yesterday’s stage José Ignacio Cornejo went all out from sixth as he looked to claw back just over a minute to Ross Branch in the overall standings. With the Atacama Desert on his doorstep at home, Cornejo will have been in his element in today’s dune bashing as he currently occupies ninth position with over four minutes in bonuses.

As the remaining Monster Energy Honda Team riders bed down for the night to re-energize after a substantial day of rallying, it’s all to play for in the morning with the culmination of this stage as the Dakar continues to throw up surprises. More to follow tomorrow when the riders will reunite with the rest of the team after this tough stage.

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