After a much-deserved rest day, the 2021 Dakar Rally kicked-off for the second half of the campaign with the start of Stage 7. The first day of the marathon stage saw Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Joaquim Rodrigues finish 9th at the end of the day, while Sebastian Buhler continued his steady run to finish 21st. Privateer Harith Noah had an impressive run as well and finished 25th. All riders managed to make it to the Bivouac at Sakaka from Ha'il safely preserving their bikes and bodies. The marathon stage leaves the riders to tend to themselves overnight with no assistance from their respective crews.
The Hero riders made a safe start to the day as the bikes and tyres need to be preserved until the end of Stage 8. The first half of the marathon stage included a liaison of 284 km with a 453 km special section. Rodrigues took a while to find his rhythm at the start but managed to finish 16th overall, while Buhler continues to be placed 21st in the overall rankings. For Harith Noah, the day saw him ride easily for the first half, with the second half slightly out of his comfort zone. Nevertheless, the rider ended the day at P33 in the general standings.
Joaquim Rodrigues said, "Stage 7 was going to be a tough one. I wasn't feeling very well in the morning and couldn't find my flow initially. But then things started to come together and I got into a good rhythm, found my pace and brought my Hero bike to the finish in Top 10. I am really happy with the outcome today as the bike and tires are in a safe and good condition for tomorrow."
Sebastian Buhler said, "First part of the Marathon today was a tricky stage with a lot of rocks so we had to be careful to keep the bike and tires safe. Overall, it was a positive stage for me and I am happy to arrive at the Marathon bivouac with everything in a good condition. Hopefully we should be able to make a good stage tomorrow."
Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally 2021 will conclude the marathon stage and will see the competitors travel from Sakaka to the Neom region of Saudi Arabia that includes 375 km of the special section.
Provisional Rankings - Stage 7
1. Ricky Brabec Monster Energy Honda Team 04h37m44s
2. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Monster Energy Honda Team +02m07s
3. Skyler Howes Bas Dakar KTM Team +02m19s
9. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally +5m55s
21. Sebastian Buhler Hero MotoSports Team Rally +21m 39s
25. Harith Noah Privateer +39m19s
Provisional Overall Rankings at the end of Stage 7
1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Monster Energy Honda Team 28h51m31s
2. Toby Price RedBull KTM Factory Team +01s
3. Sam Sunderland RedBull KTM Factory Team +02m11s
16. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally +45m52s
21. Sebastian Buhler Hero MotoSports Team Rally +01h58m20s
33. Harith Noah Privateer +05h16m36s