Honda riders lock out Dakar podium on stage three

There was an outstanding performance on track from Ricky Brabec, Jose Ignacio Cornejo, Kevin Benavides and Joan Barreda on the looping circuit in Neom on stage three of the 2020 Dakar Rally.
The Super Marathon stage wrapped up with Monster Energy Honda Team riders scooping a fine haul of results. The 414-kilometre Neom loop proved to be a rewarding one for the crew who achieved the best stage CP times over the course of a lengthy and arduous special.
The stage took place amid slippery gravel-filled mountain tracks connected by a breakneck high-speed section of off-piste racing through a valley. The navigation proved particularly taxing, but Brabec, Cornejo and Benavides were up to the task, giving Honda a podium lock-out at the end of the stage.
Earlier this morning, riders once again received the ready-to-use roadbooks just minutes before the race-start, but this was no impediment to Ricky Brabec, as the American let rip registering the best times at the various waypoints of the special before reaching the goal back in Neom. The Californian now leads in the general standings.
Cornejo was also feeling at ease on this third stage of the rally in Saudi Arabia. Improving his skills as each day goes by, the Chilean made it home with the second-best time of the day, less than six minutes behind Ricky Brabec.
Argentinean Kevin Benavides climbed to second place, just 4’43 shy of his team-mate after a notable showing in the day’s tricky special where he took third place on the podium.
Joan Barreda likewise pushed hard to be among the frontrunners, posting sixth but still keeping his options open to stage an attack. The rider from Castellon holds fourth overall place some 11 minutes behind his team-mate.
Ricky Brabec: “Today was actually really fun. The train was really epic. There were a lot of rocks, lots of stones, a lot of sand, and a lot of tricky navigation. It was really fast, which is what I really prefer. I had a good starting position today. I started a little bit back in twelfth position.
“I didn’t have too much dust. I passed the first rider at kilometre 20. I knew today I could push. It was difficult. Every note that I thought was difficult I slowed down and took my time. I was pushing all day. We had three short specials. I was riding really well and I felt really good today.
“The roadbook is really good. The information here is really, really nice here. Tomorrow will be tricky. It’s always difficult opening because you have all the riders pushing behind you.
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