Dakar 2022, Stage 9: Cornejo wins, Walkner moves into lead

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The 287km test near Wadi Ad Dawasir was dominated by the factory Honda team, with Cornejo and 2020 winner Ricky Brabec trading the top spot throughout the day.

Cornejo held the early advantage after the first waypoint on 40km but was quickly leapfrogged by Brabec on the sister CRF 450 Rally bike. The 30-year-old went on to build a small buffer for himself until the fourth waypoint, but was powerless to prevent the Chilean rider from repassing him en route to a 1m26s victory in Stage 8.

Brabec eventually slipped to third in the day’s standings behind the leading KTM of Kevin Benavides, losing time in the final 86km run to the finish.

2018 Dakar winner Walkner was never in contention for a podium finish but ended up just 2m06s off the top spot in fourth, grabbing the overall lead in the process.

The Austrian rider took advantage of a difficult showing for overnight leader Sunderland, who finished more than eight minutes off the pace in 14th after opening the road on his GasGas bike.

The two riders are separated by 2m12s at the top of the standings with three stages still to run in the rally-raid before they reach the finish line in Jeddah on Friday.

Adrien van Beveren continues to hold third place overall on the Yamaha, while Pablo Quintanilla remains Honda’s top runner in fourth after finishing eighth in today’s stage.

Benavides and Honda’s Joan Barreda occupy fifth and sixth places respectively, ahead of Sherco rider Lorenzo Santolino.

Victory in Stage 9 has vaulted Cornejo to ninth place, while Andrew Short’s run to sixth has dropped KTM’s Toby Price outside the overall top 10.

Overall standings after Stage 9:

1Matthias WalknerKTM30:14:03 
2Sam SunderlandGasGas30:16:15+00:02:12
3Adrien van BeverenYAMAHA30:17:59+00:03:56
4Pablo QuintanillaHONDA30:18:44+00:04:41
5Kevin BenavidesKTM30:24:25+00:10:22
6Joan BarredaHONDA30:25:00+00:10:57
7Lorenzo SantolinoSHERCO FACTORY30:40:57+00:26:54
8Stefan SvitkoKTM30:41:55+00:27:52
9Jose Ignacio CornejoHONDA30:46:33+00:32:30
10Andrew ShortYAMAHA30:49:02+00:34:59

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