Illustration for article titled Honda Is On Track To Win Dakar For The First Time In 30 Years
Photo: Honda

KTM’s first Dakar win was in 2001 and the manufacturer has come in first place every time since. At the halfway point of the 2020 event, it’s looking like Honda may have a shot at dethroning the Austrians.

Honda rider Ricky Brabec leads the bikes with a gap of just under 21 minutes ahead of Husqvarna rider Pablo Quintanilla. KTM rider Toby Price is in third, 25 minutes and 39 seconds back from the lead.

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Brabec led most of Stage 6, the last before the mid-event rest day, although the lead was short for most of the stage. According to Motorsport.com, Luciano Benavides was less than 1 minute behind on his KTM before engine problems caused him to lose time between the last checkpoint and the finish. Price also had trouble near the end of the stage, losing eight minutes.

Husqvarna rider Andrew Short finished the stage without his rear tire.

KTM rider Matthias Walkner said that Honda has “Much better cards,” though he was quick to point out that the race isn’t over. “We see how quick it can change. Today Kevin broke the engine, Toby had some problem with the wheel,” adding, “You cannot make really good strategy for Dakar, just do the best day by day.”

The second half of the event resumes tomorrow in Riyadh.

Matt Brown is an automotive engineer, writer, and builder of unconventional things. Mostly vehicles.

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