Luciano Benavides has put in his best performance of the 2022 Dakar Rally to date with an excellent ride to finish in fourth place on the technically demanding 404-kilometre special on day seven. While others struggled with the navigation required to successfully complete the stage without issue, the Husqvarna Factory Racing rider skilfully worked his way through the route, maintaining a good pace and strong rhythm.
Fast right from his 15th place starting position as he headed into the stage, Benavides was able to work his way up to fifth place by the end of the sizeable dune section that dominated the opening half of today’s special. From there, the FR 450 Rally mounted racer maintained his top-five placing as he took on the rougher and more challenging second half of the special on the way to Al Dawadimi.
Holding his own right to the finish of the stage, Luciano was able to complete the special in fourth place, less than eight minutes down on the eventual winner. The result moves the Argentinian up a further two places to 15th overall, 52 minutes adrift of the provisional race leader. Luciano is now well-placed to mount another attack on Monday’s stage eight, where he will enjoy a fourth-place start position into the 395-kilometre special.
Luciano Benavides: “I had a really good feeling with the bike today and because of that I felt really comfortable pushing hard all through the stage. For sure, it’s my best day of the rally so far. I did make some mistakes later in the stage with my navigation, but thankfully I was able to get back on track quickly and didn’t lose too much time on the others. After a difficult start to the race and being forced to try and make up time on every stage, getting a result like this is really good for my confidence. I’m looking forward to tomorrow now and a strong second week to the rally.”
2022 Dakar Rally – Stage 7 Provisional Classification
1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 3:28:46
2. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 3:29:30
3. Joan Barreda (Honda) 3:31:37
4. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:36:36
5. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 3:37:15
6. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 3:37:43
2022 Dakar Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 7)
1. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 23:45:02
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 23:50:14
3. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 23:50:25
4. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 23:50:40
5. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 23:51:36
6. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 23:53:17
15. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 24:37:11