Monster Energy Honda Team has done it again at the 2021 Dakar Rally, snatching the overall win with a one-two finish for the team who dominated throughout. Kevin Benavides sees a dream come true as he becomes a Dakar champion. Ricky Brabec, runner-up overall, took the spoils on the final special stage. KTMs Sam Sunderland has claimed a third place finish at the incredibly demanding 2021 Dakar Rally.

The Top 3 of the Dakar 2021 at the finish in Jeddah.

Kevin Benavides: “The final stage of this Dakar 2021 was very difficult: I started third so I thought that it would be easier, but it was not like that. At kilometre 50 all the riders in front got lost, so I began to open the track. The stage has been very difficult to navigate so I stayed very focused on doing things well. I gave everything to achieve this win which is a dream come true for me. I am very happy and thrilled about it. I crossed the finish-line thinking about many things, with great emotions… Paulo Gonçalves also crossed with me… It was a great moment. I am really pleased and I’m living this moment. I want to thank the whole team, starting with my mechanics, for the great job they have all done this difficult year. Thanks also to Honda for giving us such a great bike which made it possible to achieve the dream.”

Ricky Brabec: “We are back in Jeddah. Kevin and I did a great job. The whole team did a great job. It was unfortunate for Joan and Nacho. I tried to make a push to try and get Kevin seven minutes ahead, but unfortunately I failed that. I had to settle for the number two spot. All in all it was a great rally. My mentor and my assistant Kendall, my mechanic Eric did a great job and kept Nacho and I focused and in one piece. Thank you guys once again, and hopefully next year we’ll be able to take the number one back on this bike.”

Sam Sunderland: “I did my best over the whole rally, so I can’t be too disappointed, I guess. It was always going to be hard setting off first this morning and I knew I had to push hard to make up those minutes. I couldn’t find one waypoint early on in the dunes and lost far too much time trying to find it. There is always a fine balance and when you push your speed, the navigation can lose out. I’m super happy as I know I gave it my all. The other guys did a great job and after what was such a tough event with several crashes and people being forced to retire with technical issues, I’m glad to be here safe at the finish line and in third place. I honestly think that has been one of the toughest races I have ever done – the pace at the top is so high, we’re having to fight every single day and there is no time to relax. Congratulations to all those who finished and get well soon to those who crashed out.” (source: monster energy honda & red bull ktm)

2021 Dakar Rally
1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 47:18:14
2. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 47:23:10 +4:56
3. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 47:34:11 +15:57
4. Daniel Sanders (AUS), KTM, 47:57:06 +38:52
5. Skyler Howes (USA), KTM, 48:10:47 +52:33

STORY: Dakar Champion Kevin Benavides Joins Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (April 2021)
STORY: Sam Sunderland Wins Stage 11 At Dakar 2021 (January 2021)


photos (c) Monster Energy Honda