Ricky Brabec scored the motorcycle stage victory in the sixth leg of the Dakar Rally on Friday, as competitors completed the run to Riyadh to finish off the first half of the event. Brabec’s stage win enabled him to grow his overall lead in the race to 20:56 over Pablo Quintanilla and 25:39 over defending motorcycle winner Toby Price.
All told, Americans are performing incredibly well in both the motorcycle and SSV classes. Brabec is joined in the top 12 spots by eighth place Skyler Howes, whose privateer effort with Klymciw Racing is one of the best in the event, and 12th place Andrew Short, who has recovered from a major crash and broken roadbook along the way. Casey Currie continues to pace the Americans in SSV, just under 10 minutes behind Friday stage winner Chaleco Lopez for the lead, with Mitch Guthrie Jr. and AJ Jones in fifth and seventh.
Stephane Peterhansel won Friday’s car stage by 1:33 over Carlos Sainz, but the Spanish rally legend maintains a lead of nearly eight minutes over Nasser Al-Attiyah and more than 16 minutes ahead of Peterhansel. Fernando Alonso continues his quest to crack the overall top 10 for the first time coming off of a sixth place stage finish on Friday, his third top-10 of the event so far; Alonso currently sits 16th in the overall standings, within 40 minutes of 10th place Benedikts Vanagas.
On quads, Simon Vitse beat class leader Ignacio Casale by 3:25 on Friday, but Casale’s advantage is now more than 38 minutes over Vitse in the overall standings. The battle between Kamaz teammates Andrey Karginov and Anton Shibalov in the truck class saw Karginov add more than four minutes to his 19-minute overall lead, with Maz driver Siarhei Viazovich third on both the day and the event so far.
Today’s Dakar Rally stage from Ha‘il to Riyadh will air at 9:30PM ET/6:30PM PT on the NBC Sports Network. Saturday will be a rest day for the hundreds of racers still competing in the event, but a recap of the day with interviews and a look back at the first half of the race so far will air at 11PM ET/8PM PT on NBCSN on Saturday night.