2024 Dakar Rally Stage 6 halts for the night: Hero’s Ross Branch drops to 2nd overall, Joan Barreda Bort climbs to 10th
In the ongoing 48-hour-long Stage 6 of the 2024 Dakar rally, Hero MotoSports rider Ross Branch is currently positioned in 6th place in the stage, and this has dropped him down to 2nd overall after holding the lead in Stage 5. He trails the stage leader by 7min 56sec and the overall leader Ricky Brabec by 2min 48sec. Joan Barreda Bort has climbed to 10th place in the stage, putting him in a virtual 10th place overall. He now trails the stage leader Adrien Van Beveren of Monster Energy Honda by 29min 58sec and overall leader Ricky Brabec by 1h 4min 44sec (overall).
However, it is worth noting that these are not the results of Stage 6. In a new format for the 2024 Dakar, the organisers have organised this 48-hour Chrono stage. It means that riders are expected to cover 625km over two days. On day one, they are flagged off as usual and at 4pm, they are told to return to the bivouac closest to them – over seven bivouacs will be set up mid-stage. The organisers have provided multiple such bivouacs because riders are flagged off at different times and not all of them will make it to the same bivouac by the 4pm cut off. They then get flagged off the following morning and will continue till the end of the stage. The teams are not allowed to assist the riders when they halt after the first day of riding.
One of the big challenges of the day was managing fuel. Some strong contenders for the race win ran out of fuel kilometres before the refuelling point. The next fuel stop is at the end of the stage, with even more distance to cover between the start and the fuel stop in the middle. This is causing several riders to back off the pace. The stage wasn’t easy either with Hero’s Barreda Bort saying that the stage had “very soft and difficult dunes”. But these are the challenges that come with the Dakar.
At the moment, the Hero MotoSports riders are with the leading bunch and have parked up for the night at the sixth bivouac along the route, having ridden a total of 513km today. They flag off tomorrow morning and will ride to the end of the stage, after which we will have the final stage classification.