Rest day means that the first week of competition at the Dakar Rally is behind. Riyadh was the place for this year’s pause, with the bivouac placed in the surroundings of the Saudi Arabia capital. So today riders could sleep in a nice hotel, relax and meet fans eager to feel the vibes of the most important off-road marathon in the world.

For the technical support team – mechanicals and engineers – it was probably the longest journey so far. Working all night, they had to revise and check every component and detail of the Honda CRF 450 Rally. At the end of the day a final road test confirmed that the all process was a success, meaning Monster Energy Honda Team riders will have their bikes in perfect conditions when they start their engines tomorrow.

This 45th edition of the Dakar Rally is already seen as one of the most competitive of the past years. After eight stages, all contenders are really close in the top standings – and this happens after more than 30 hours of special stages already completed! Monster Energy Honda Team is for sure among the ones in the front line. In the overall standings, Quintanilla is ranked 5th with a gap of just 2:45 minutes to the leader, Van Beveren is in 6th position (2:49 minutes gap to the leader) and Nacho Cornejo ninth (19:32 minutes gap to the leader).

Tomorrow the second week of the competition will start with the ninth stage, making the connection between Riyadh and Haradh. The special stage will have 359 kilometers plus a liaison of 328 km, starting with wadis and canyons. Going off the track and struggling with navigation are just two of the hazards of this special. In the end there will be a beautiful chain of dunes to overcome before reaching the bivouac.

Ruben Faria

General Manager

“The first week of the Dakar is over. Due to several factors, especially the weather with rain and cold days, but also to many hard rocky tracks, it was a tremendous effort for the riders and for the bikes. I also have to highlight the impressive rhythm of the race, with the top contenders separated by really tiny differences. We are in a good position for this second week. The terrain will have more sand and all our riders feel quite comfortable there, so we are confident in their skills and talent to ride the Honda CRF 450 Rally to the top positions”.

Pablo Quintanilla 7

“I can’t wait to start this second week of the Dakar Rally. I know there will be changes in the terrain and we will have more and more sand and dunes. Like my teammates, this is where I feel more comfortable. All my opponents are right now in a very short distance - less than three minutes - so everything is open in terms of podium positions”.

Adrien Van Beveren 42

“The sand is my playground and I just love to ride there. After this first week I was quite regular, had a stage win and managed to deal well with the pressure. To win the Dakar Rally is a dream I have pursued for a long time and will do everything at my reach to make reality. I feel motivated, confident in my skills and really happy with the performance of my Honda CRF 450 Rally. So let the game continue!”

José Ignacio Cornejo 11

“It was good to stop for one day after such an intense week. I am strong at the top 10. I know I have made some mistakes, but my goal is still there. I want to attack the top positions and I know navigation will play a key role in that. I put a smile on my face also to know we are moving to other kinds of terrains where sand will be dominant. ”

2023 World Rally Raid Championship
Stage Round WORLD1   Dakar

Overall standings after stage 8

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Howes Skyler 10 USA Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna 30h34m16s
2 Benavides Kevin 1 ARG Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 30h34m29s
3 Klein Mason 43 USA BAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM KTM 30h34m29s
4 Price Toby 18 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 30h36m14s
5 Quintanilla Pablo 7 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 30h36m14s
6 Van Beveren Adrien 42 FRA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 30h37m01s
7 Sanders Daniel 4 AUS Gas Gas Factory Team Gas Gas 30h37m05s
8 Barreda Joan 5 SPA Monster Energy Joan Barreda Team Honda 30h41m19s
9 Cornejo José Ignacio 11 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 30h41m37s
10 Walkner Matthias 52 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 30h53m48s

Dakar Rally 23 best of first week & rest day

Location Information

Dakar in Saudi From 2020

Records

Dakar 2020 winner Ricky Brabec (Honda)
Dakar 2021 winner Kevin Benavides (Honda)