The 2021 Dakar Rally resumed after the rest day, with Stage 7 kicking off the first half of the Marathon Stage. With no team assistance allowed, the Marathon Stage is especially testing since competitors have to rely on their own mechanical skills. But both Hero MotoSports riders, as well as Harith Noah, did well to safely bring home their bikes in good condition – something that is crucial for a strong performance in the second half of the Marathon Stage.
Rodrigues finishes 9th
Sebastian Buhler finishes 21st
Harith Noah finishes stage in 25th place
Joaquim Rodrigues bags 9th place for Hero MotoSports
Rodrigues delivered yet another strong performance, securing his third top 10 finish for the team. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for him; the Portuguese rider lost some time in the beginning, admitting that he “wasn’t feeling very well in the morning and couldn’t find my flow initially”.
But he did eventually manage to find his rhythm and registered a 9th place stage finish, just 5mins 55sec behind stage winner, Ricky Brabec. This sees him gain a place in the general classification, and he’s now 16th overall.
Sebastian Buhler held on to his overall position of 21st place after another controlled performance. “First part of the Marathon today was a tricky stage with a lot of rocks so we had to be careful to keep the bike and tires safe. Overall, it was a positive stage for me and I am happy to arrive at the Marathon bivouac with everything in a good condition,” he said.
Harith Noah secures best Dakar 2021 result
Indian rider Harith Noah has been on an understated charge of sorts following his high speed crash in Stage 4 that left him with some minor injuries on his left leg. New Dakar 2021 rules mandate only six rear tyre changes for the entire rally for bike competitors, so Noah’s goal for this stage was to safely complete it without any major mistakes.
“Rode easy until about halfway through the stage as the terrain wasn't in my comfort zone. The goal was to keep the bike fresh and get through Marathon,” he said.
Nevertheless, he managed to secure his best result so far in this year’s Dakar Rally, completing Stage 7 in 25th place. As a result, he’s gained two places in the overall order and now stands 33rd.
Dakar 2021 results
16. Joaquim Rodrigues
21. Sebastian Buhler
33. Harith Noah
Dakar 2021: Hero finish Stage 6 in top 10; Harith Noah soldiers on
Ashish Raorane out of Dakar 2021 after Stage 5 crash