The Honda CRF450 RALLY of the Monster Energy Honda Team continues to excel in this 40th edition of the Dakar Rally. A dazzling performance today by Kevin Benavides earns the Argentinean the overall leadership of the race.

It was a dreadful sixth stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally, which brings with it a well-deserved rest day for the competitors in the capital of La Paz, Bolivia. Today’s 313-kilometre special stage against the clock was not completed in full after race authorities deemed the first stretch unsafe for racing. Riders had moved on from Peru into Bolivia by the picturesque Lake Titicaca, the highest lake above sea level. However, things were far from idyllic. The assistance vehicles ran into rain and snow in the mountain passes which clogged up the entrance to La Paz. Nevertheless, thousands of fans were there to greet the huge Dakar entourage’s arrival.

Joan Barreda got to open the track today on fast, slippery, water-drenched tracks which caused several riders some big scares. The Spaniard came a cropper after losing the front end in a puddle. Fortunately it turned out to have no consequences other than soaking the rider. Once the instruments and goggles were cleaned, Barreda was back in the fray. Barreda finished marginally behind conceding 3’30” to the day’s winner Antoine Méo.

Monster Energy Honda Team comrade-in-arms Kevin Benavides also ended up on the ground, but managed to limit the damage before posting second on the day, which elevates the Argentinean rider to the top of the overall leader board with a two-minute advantage over the second placed rider.

It was a tricky day also today for Michael Metge, Ricky Brabec and José Ignacio Cornejo, who were all held up and likewise, experienced some close calls out on the track.

Tomorrow, La Paz plays host to the usual rest day, where the riders finally get a lay-in and a chance to recharge the batteries, as they prepare for the second week of the competition. The mechanics will review the Honda CRF450 RALLY to have them in tip-top shape for stage seven, the first part of the first marathon stage of this Dakar 2018.

DAKAR 2018 01 11 DK18 HONDA DAILY STAGE 6 HONDA
Behind The Scene Honda DAKAR RALLY 2018 vol.3
Joan Barreda

Joan Barreda

Today we had to overcome a stage with a lot of rain from the very first moment, with roads completely drenched. I took a tumble in a puddle and got completely soaked. I wasted a bit of time having to clean everything as I had been unable to see, but the worst thing about it was the cold chill that I felt throughout my body. It was certainly not easy. In the end, starting from first position and only losing three minutes isn’t bad.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Michael Metge

Michael Metge

What a storm! I got completely frozen at this stage. We caught rain on the special and mud too. I skidded a lot on the hard ground. It has not been easy, but with our attitude we managed to finish it well.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Ricky Brabec

Ricky Brabec

Today was worse than yesterday. The rain was pretty difficult and if we were lucky we got three and a half hours sleep. Yesterday was a long day, not with the stages, but with the liaisons and modifications, getting back to the bivouac late and going to bed late. Getting up at three in the morning Bolivia time, so it was really two in the morning... It was the hardest day so far; it wasn’t even hard riding but it was mentally fatiguing. The stage was fast; I don’t know how we lost time in the stage, it’s weird. I didn’t have any problems in the stage. I hit the water really hard and I hit my face on the dashboard. I don’t know how these guys are making up time on us and that’s difficult to swallow. There’s seven more days and we’ll push.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Kevin Benavides

Kevin Benavides

I am very proud because it is the first time that an Argentine rider has led the Dakar Rally. I'm very happy too, because the idea was to get as high up the rankings as possible before the rest stage, so I can not be happier. I'm a little tired, we've had rain, mud, fast roads. But I was fast and felt comfortable on the bike. Now we have a day to rest and prepare the second week.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Raul Castells

Raul Castells

Monster Energy Honda Team Manager

We have to congratulate the riders for the great job they have done so far. Kevin is leading and Joan is making a great comeback. Both have fallen today in the special, without any setbacks. The other riders were also good and I do not want to say much more: we will speak in Córdoba. We had a first week of very difficult dunes with the plan to get through them as well as possible, and that's how it was, without physical or mechanical mishaps. The Japanese are working very well. Now, he has just changed the terrain, with hard stages. In Bolivia we expect rain, and in Argentina more hard and fast stages. We will try to push until the end while doing our best, but without losing concentration on the daily work.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Dakar Rally

Dakar, Dakar (multiple countries)

Rally 2018

Thursday 11 Jan 2018, 23:55 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Antoine Meo 19 FRA 25 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 1:54'10
2 Kevin Benavides ARG 20 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +0'30
3 Toby Price 8 AUT 16 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +0'30
4 Martín Duplessis ARG 13 Honda Argentina – MEC Team Honda +1'13
5 Daniel Oliveras SPA 11 Himoinsa Team KTM +1'55
6 Pablo Quintanilla 10 CHI 10 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +2'00
7 Daniel Nosiglia 33 BOL 9 HT Husqvarna Rally Team Husqvarna +2'13
8 Adrien van Beveren 4 FRA 8 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +3'27
9 Joan Barreda SPA 7 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +3'30
10 Michael Metge FRA 6 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +3'37
11 Matthias Walkner 2 AUT 5 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +4'06
12 Gerard Farres 23 SPA 4 Himoinsa Team KTM +4'14
13 Stefan Svitko SLK 3 Slovnaft Team KTM +4'19
14 Armand Monleon SPA 2 Daming Racing Team KTM +4'34
15 Jonathan Barragán SPA 1 Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +4'48
19 Ricky Brabec USA 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +6'16
24 José Ignacio Cornejo 68 CHI 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +8'12
Thursday 11 Jan 2018, 01:00 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Joan Barreda SPA 25 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 3:19'42
2 Matthias Walkner 2 AUT 20 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +10'26
3 Kevin Benavides ARG 16 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +12'20
4 Antoine Meo 19 FRA 13 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +13'00
5 Adrien van Beveren 4 FRA 11 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +14'35
6 Xavier de Soultrait 23 FRA 10 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +14'43
7 Toby Price 8 AUT 9 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +15'00
8 Gerard Farres 23 SPA 8 Himoinsa Team KTM +16'54
9 Ricky Brabec USA 7 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +19'16
10 Johnny Aubert FRA 6 Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +21'17
11 Oriol Mena SPA 5 Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +22'35
12 Michael Metge FRA 4 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +22'38
13 Stefan Svitko SLK 3 Slovnaft Team KTM +25'07
14 Laia Sanz 12 SPA 2 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing Team KTM +27'29
15 Jonathan Barragán SPA 1 Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +27'44
19 José Ignacio Cornejo 68 CHI 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +29'52
Tuesday 9 Jan 2018, 23:00 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Adrien van Beveren 4 FRA 25 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha 4:08'23
2 Xavier de Soultrait 23 FRA 20 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +5'01
3 Matthias Walkner 2 AUT 16 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +7'10
4 Pablo Quintanilla 10 CHI 13 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +7'32
5 Stefan Svitko SLK 11 Slovnaft Team KTM +7'45
6 Daniel Nosiglia 33 BOL 10 HT Husqvarna Rally Team Husqvarna +8'39
7 José Ignacio Cornejo 68 CHI 9 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +8'45
8 Kevin Benavides ARG 8 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +9'14
9 Joan Barreda SPA 7 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +10'00
10 Gerard Farres 23 SPA 6 Himoinsa Team KTM +10'11
11 Franco Caimi 7 ARG 5 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +10'23
12 Johnny Aubert FRA 4 Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +10'24
13 Michael Metge FRA 3 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +11'17
14 Jonathan Barragán SPA 2 Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +11'23
15 Toby Price 8 AUT 1 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +13'23
24 Ricky Brabec USA 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +23'44
Monday 8 Jan 2018, 23:00 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Sam Sunderland GBR 25 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 3:20'43
2 Kevin Benavides ARG 20 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +3'03
3 Toby Price 8 AUT 16 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +3'28
4 Ricky Brabec USA 13 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +3'55
5 Pablo Quintanilla 10 CHI 11 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +4'20
6 Gerard Farres 23 SPA 10 Himoinsa Team KTM +5'08
7 Stefan Svitko SLK 9 Slovnaft Team KTM +6'03
8 Antoine Meo 19 FRA 8 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +6'23
9 José Ignacio Cornejo 68 CHI 7 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +7'06
10 Walter Nosiglia BOL 6 HT Husqvarna Rally Team Husqvarna +8'27
11 Michael Metge FRA 5 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +9'03
12 Matthias Walkner 2 AUT 4 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +9'04
13 Oriol Mena SPA 3 Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +9'25
14 Franco Caimi 7 ARG 2 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +10'56
15 Xavier de Soultrait 23 FRA 1 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +11'52
30 Joan Barreda SPA 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +27'49
Sunday 7 Jan 2018, 22:30 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Joan Barreda SPA 25 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 2:56'44
2 Adrien van Beveren 4 FRA 20 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +2'54
3 Matthias Walkner 2 AUT 16 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +4'24
4 Michael Metge FRA 13 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +4'39
5 Kevin Benavides ARG 11 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +5'43
6 Pablo Quintanilla 10 CHI 10 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +5'45
7 Sam Sunderland GBR 9 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +6'01
8 Xavier de Soultrait 23 FRA 8 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +6'12
9 Franco Caimi 7 ARG 7 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +6'36
10 Toby Price 8 AUT 6 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +6'40
11 Jonathan Barragán SPA 5 Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +6'43
12 Ricky Brabec USA 4 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +7'19
13 José Ignacio Cornejo 68 CHI 3 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +9'32
14 Antoine Meo 19 FRA 2 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +9'43
15 Gerard Farres 23 SPA 1 Himoinsa Team KTM +10'53
Sunday 7 Jan 2018, 14:34 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Sam Sunderland GBR 25 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 20'56
2 Adrien van Beveren 4 FRA 20 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha ++0'33
3 Pablo Quintanilla 10 CHI 16 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna ++0'56
4 Joan Barreda SPA 13 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda ++0'57
5 Xavier de Soultrait 23 FRA 11 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha ++01'07
6 Matthias Walkner 2 AUT 10 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM ++01'23
7 Franco Caimi 7 ARG 9 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha ++01'31
8 Daniel Nosiglia 33 BOL 8 HT Husqvarna Rally Team Husqvarna ++01'33
9 Antoine Meo 19 FRA 7 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM ++01'49
10 Kevin Benavides ARG 6 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda ++01'53
11 Ricky Brabec USA 5 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda ++02'47
12 Laia Sanz 12 SPA 4 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing Team KTM ++03'16
13 Santosh Chunchungguppe 49 IND 3 Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero ++03'16
14 Toby Price 8 AUT 2 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM ++03'21
15 José Ignacio Cornejo 68 CHI 1 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda ++03'21
19 Michael Metge FRA 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda ++03'51
Provisional Standings
Thursday, 11 Jan 2018
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Kevin BENAVIDES ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda
2 Adrien VAN BEVEREN 4 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha
3 Matthias WALKNER 2 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM
4 Joan BARREDA SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda
5 Toby PRICE 8 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM
6 Antoine MEO 19 FRA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM
7 Xavier DE SOULTRAIT 23 FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha
8 Pablo QUINTANILLA 10 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna
9 Gerard FARRES 23 SPA Himoinsa Team KTM
10 Stefan SVITKO SLK Slovnaft Team KTM
11 Ricky BRABEC USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda
12 José Ignacio CORNEJO 68 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda
24 Michael METGE FRA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda