Britain's Sunderland came home five minutes down

Monster Honda’s Kevin Benavides has taken over victory in Dakar 2021 with team-mate and 2020 champion Ricky Brabec second and Britain’s Sam Sunderland third.

Benavides finished second to Brabec on the final stage by a little over two minutes but it was enough to claim the win by nearly five minutes.

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“It was absolutely crazy. I started third and after fifty kilometres I was in front opening the stage. I feel that everything was complicated, because Ricky started to catch up with me,” said Benavides.

“I started to push a lot, all day, and stayed focused, so I did a good job today. Also, I went at one hundred and ten percent, but now it’s true: I’ve won the Dakar – I’m so, so happy! I did some mistakes, for sure. I think it’s impossible to do a perfect Dakar.

“The important thing is to always continue, to stay calm and focused day by day and to work hard day by day. On stage 5 I was worried, because I crashed so fast and hit my head and my ankle and felt a lot of pain. On that day I said maybe the Dakar is finished for me. But I continued pushing.

“Now I still have some pain, but at the moment I am more happy than in pain, so it’s no problem. I think I where I won the race was today, in the last kilometres! You couldn’t think of winning during this Dakar, you had to keep focused.

“You don’t think, you just concentrate on the action and nothing else, because everything can change in one second. I am really proud to be the first South American winner. My dream was also to make history and now I am the first South American guy to win the Dakar.

“That is amazing for me. For sure, we did a really good job all throughout the Dakar like team-mates. Nacho had a really bad crash and also Joan, but we did a really good job as a team.”

Overall 2021 Dakar top ten

147(ARG) KEVIN BENAVIDESMONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 202147H 18′ 14”00H 02′ 00”
21(USA) RICKY BRABECMONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 202147H 23′ 10”+ 00H 04′ 56”
35(GBR) SAM SUNDERLANDRED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM47H 34′ 11”+ 00H 15′ 57”
421(AUS) DANIEL SANDERSKTM FACTORY TEAM47H 57′ 06”+ 00H 38′ 52”00H 07′ 00”
59(USA) SKYLER HOWESBAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM48H 10′ 47”+ 00H 52′ 33”00H 06′ 00”
615(ESP) LORENZO SANTOLINOSHERCO FACTORY48H 16′ 44”+ 00H 58′ 30”
72(CHL) PABLO QUINTANILLAROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING48H 34′ 53”+ 01H 16′ 39”
811(SVK) STEFAN SVITKOSLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM49H 01′ 21”+ 01H 43′ 07”
931(CZE) MARTIN MICHEKORION – MOTO RACING GROUP49H 40′ 51”+ 02H 22′ 37”00H 03′ 00”
1052(AUT) MATTHIAS WALKNERRED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM49H 50′ 26”+ 02H 32′ 12”00H 02′ 00”

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