Husqvarna Factory Racing complete challenging stage one at Dakar 2024

Husqvarna Factory Racing got the 2024 Dakar Rally underway with reigning World Rally-Raid Champion Luciano Benavides safely completing stage one. The first true special stage of the event presented hundreds of kilometres of rocky, volcanic terrain, forcing Benavides to adopt a calculated and technical riding style to successfully navigate the special.

Kicking off the 2024 edition of the Dakar Rally, Friday’s prologue in AlUla was short but demanded accurate navigation, with the final finishing positions determining the start order for Saturday's opening stage. After completing the prologue in an excellent fifth place, Luciano opted for a later, 14th place start into the 414km timed special on stage one.

The first full day of racing was tough for all competitors, taking them from the start in AlUla through to the bivouac in Al Henakiyah across demanding terrain, never seen before at the Dakar. Faced with the intensely rocky tracks and tricky navigation, Benavides chose to ease his pace, conserve his energy, and focus on making the absolute minimum of mistakes on the unforgiving ground. Maintaining a solid pace from start to finish, the 28-year-old completed the special in 15th place.

Luciano now lies 14th overall provisionally and will be looking to push hard in Sunday’s stage two to make up time on his rivals. Starting in an advantageous position, the FR 450 Rally rider will take on a longer, 463km timed special on day two, as well as longer liaison sections.

Luciano Benavides: “It was really, really difficult. The stage was more like an enduro for 400 kilometres. I had quite a few small crashes too which isn’t great, but hopefully the next stage will be different. It’s incredible how many kilometres of stones there were which needed such steady, technical riding – it was really tough.”

2024 Dakar Rally – Stage 1 Provisional Classification

1. Ross Branch (Hero) 4:56:01
2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 5:06:55
3. Mason Klein (KOVE) 5:07:20
4. Bradley Cox (KTM) 5:08:55
5. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 5:09:44
15. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 5:19:10

2024 Dakar Rally – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 1]

1. Ross Branch (Hero) 5:13:55
2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 5:25:49
3. Mason Klein (KOVE) 5:25:53
4. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 5:28:43
5. Bradley Cox (KTM) 5:28:48

14. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 5:37:11