Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Kevin Benavides has finished third on a tough and physically demanding seventh stage at the 2024 Dakar Rally. The KTM 450 RALLY racer now lies fifth overall in the provisional standings. Also delivering a strong performance on the long stage, Toby Price posted the eighth fastest time and sits one place behind his teammate in sixth overall.

Returning to action following their well-deserved rest day, riders were immediately put to the test as they tackled the longest stage of this year’s event – the 873-kilometer stage seven. After initially navigating through a maze of canyons and rocky tracks, competitors then faced an intense section of dunes to complete the 483-kilometer timed special.

Following on from his seventh-place result on the rally’s 48-hour marathon stage, Benavides used today’s later start position to the best of his advantage, pushing hard with the goal of chasing down the riders ahead. Midway through the special, Kevin moved into the top two on the timesheets, locked in a closely fought battle for the lead. Crossing the line as second-fastest, a subsequent three-minute penalty knocked him down to third. However, the Argentinian’s result was still strong enough to elevate him up to fifth overall in the provisional standings.

Kevin Benavides: “It was a really long and tough stage today. Including the liaisons, we covered over 870 kilometers after waking up at 3am! Going into the special, I really tried to focus on the roadbook and my navigation. Even though the terrain was really mixed, I was able to stick to a good rhythm and carry that through the whole stage. The penalty is unfortunate, but I’m happy with how I rode the stage and will carry the fight into tomorrow.”

As the second rider to enter stage seven, Price soon caught up with the one rider ahead of him and assisted in opening the special. Despite not making too many errors, and accumulating close to four minutes in bonus time, Toby ultimately lost out on the rider behind following in his wheel tracks. Completing the stage in eighth place, the Australian now lies sixth in the overall standings with five days left to race.

Toby Price: “A tough day for me today on what was the longest stage of this year’s race. I rode well but it was hard to make good time from the front as the navigation was really tricky today. It meant the guys starting later on were able to make up quite a lot of ground and obviously, that cost us in the results. I’m feeling good and the bike is great, we’re just not quite where we need to be at the moment. There is still five, long stages to go though, so I’ll keep on pushing and aim to make up time on the boys ahead.”

Provisional Results – 2024 Dakar Rally, Stage 7

1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 5:18:33
2. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 5:21:45 +3:12
3. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 5:22:05 +3:32
4. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 5:25:09 +6:36
5. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 5:25:59 +7:26
Other KTM
8. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 5:29:59 +11:26

Provisional Standings – 2024 Dakar Rally (after 7 of 12 stages)

1. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 32:37:20
2. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 32:37:21 +0:01
3. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 32:44:08 +6:48
4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 32:51:59 +14:39
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 33:01:59 +24:39
Other KTM
6. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 33:08:20 +31:00