The 2022 Dakar Rally resumed after a well-earned rest day. But, as the rain washed away the tracks, Stage 7 put all the competitors’ navigation skills to the ultimate test.
The Indian contingent continues marching through, with both Hero MotoSports riders maintaining a firm grip on the overall top 20. Harith Noah also enjoyed a strong day, scoring his best result so far in this edition.
- Joaquim Rodrigues, Aaron Mare now 16th and 17th overall
- Harith Noah up to 27th overall
- Adrien Van Beveren takes bikes lead
Rodrigues sixth for Hero MotoSports
Joaquim Rodrigues, who won Stage 3 last week, aced the tricky navigation to finish the stage in sixth place. The rest day also gave him some crucial time to recover from earlier crashes where he had injured his back.
However, the Portuguese rider admits that there’s “still a long way to go” with five stages remaining. He’s spent most of the rally making up for the time he lost in the opening stage and his latest result pushes him to 16th overall.
Aaron Mare was caught up with a pack of riders and spent a majority of the stage trying to stay ahead of them. He crossed the line in 22nd place, slotting him into 17th in the overall classification.
Harith Noah finishes 23rd
TVS-backed rider Harith Noah lost some time as he missed a waypoint and had to return to catch it. Nevertheless, he put up a strong show to finish the stage in 23rd place. This moves him up to 27th place overall.
Speaking after the stage, the Indian rider said he’s “feeling much better on the bike and the shoulder is also holding up,” referring to the injury he suffered after a heavy crash earlier in the rally.
Cornejo, Loeb win Stage 7
Honda rider Jose Ignacio Cornejo won Stage 7 as several of the leading riders struggled. GasGas’ Daniel Sanders crashed out during the liaison section, leaving his teammate and longtime leader Sam Sunderland with the tough task of opening the stage. As a result, Sunderland lost a significant amount of time and dropped to fourth overall, albeit just over five minutes off new leader Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha).
Driving for the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team, Sebastien Loeb took a commanding stage win to retake second place in the overall order. Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah continues leading by a strong margin of over 44 mins.