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The ninth stage of Dakar 2022 saw Honda rider Jose Cornejo claim victory in the bikes category while Giniel de Villiers led a Toyota podium shutout in the cars section as the Dakar raced through a 287-kilometre section across the sands of Saudi Arabia near the town of Wadi Ad Dawasir.
The bikes category saw Chilean Honda rider Jose Cornejo claim his second stage victory of Dakar 2022. Cornejo traded places with Honda teammate Ricky Brabec for most of the stage.
However, the Chilean powered ahead as the stage reached its climax to win the stage by a minute and 26 seconds with a time of 2 hours, 29 minutes and 30 seconds. Brabec was pipped to second place by defending champion Kevin Benavides who sneaked his KTM past Brabec's Honda. Brabec finished the stage 21 seconds behind the KTM rider.
Joaquim Rodrigues was the highest-ranked rider on an Indian bike at the end of the 9th stage with the Portuguese rider finishing the special 6 minutes and 43 seconds behind the leader to take 11th place. Rui Goncalves was the highest-ranked TVS Sherco in stage 9 finishing in 16th spot.
Hero's South African rider Aaron Mare finished the stage in the 21st spot. The Spanish TVS Sherco rider Lorenzo Santolino finished in 35th spot with a 15 second penalty. Indian rider Harith Noah was the final TVS rider to be classified finishing the stage in 44th overall with a 15 second penalty.
In the overall classification, the lead once again changed hands and the top spot is now in the hands of Austrian KTM rider Matthias Walkner. Walkner sits 2 minutes and 12 seconds ahead of GasGas rider Sam Sunderland. A further minute and 44 seconds behind Sunderland is the Brit's brother-in-law Adrien Van Beveren.
The highest-ranked rider on an Indian bike continues to be TVS Sherco rider Lorenzo Santolino who sits 12th in the overall rankings. Hero's Rodrigues and Mare currently sit in 15th and 17th respectively. India's Harith Noah is currently classified 27th overall, two places below teammate Rui Goncalves.
The 287-kilometre long special stage near the town of Wadi Ad Dawasir saw the three Toyotas of Giniel de Villiers, Henrik Lategan and Nasser Al-Attiyah duke it out in the dunes.
de Villiers, Lategan and Al-Attiyah fought with each other over the lead before de Villiers moved into the lead at the 118km waypoint. de Villiers managed to keep his lead till the end beating off teammate and countryman Lategan to the top spot by just 9 seconds. de Villiers finished the stage in 2 hours 23 minutes and 8 seconds.
The final podium spot was taken by Nasser Al-Attiyah who helped the factory Toyota Gaxoo Racing team claim a clean sweep of the podium places while extending his overall advantage over French rival Sebastian Loeb. Al-Attiyah finished the stage in 2 hours, 24 minutes and 12 seconds, 1 minute and 7 seconds ahead of Loeb who finished in 5th place with Audi's Ekstrom claiming fourth.
In the overall standings, Al-Attiyah extended his advantage over Loeb to 39 minutes and 5 seconds. The final podium spot is claimed Yazeed Al-Rajhi with the Saudi driver, 58 minutes and 44 seconds behind the leader.
Thoughts On Dakar 2022: Stage 9
The 9th stage of Dakar 2022 saw the lead change hands once again in the bikes category. Austrian rider Matthias Walkner now leads the rally but with just 4 minutes and 41 seconds separating the top 4, the fight for the overall victory is far from over. The same can't be said about the cars section as Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah extended his lead over rival Loeb on a brilliant day for Toyota.