Ricky Brabec wins the 2024 Dakar Rally with Adrien Van Beveren on the podium in third
2024 World Rally Raid Championship
Dakar Rally 2024, Saudi Arabia, Stage 12
Bhubaneswar: 7,967 km of rallying across Saudi Arabia came to a conclusion by the breathtaking Red Sea at Yanbu with Monster Energy Honda Team’s Ricky Brabec taking the top step of the Dakar for a second time, making history as the only American to do so.
After spending much of the first week amongst the front runners, the 2020 winner took the reins after the gruelling 48 Hour Chrono and despite a one second margin to second place Ross Branch at the end of stage seven, the Californian never looked back and rode to a faultless Dakar win with nearly eleven minutes in hand.
In what has been a calm and collected display throughout the rally by the 32-year-old, he also added another stage win to the ten he has already collected in his Dakar career to date and leaves round one at the top of the 2024 World Rally-Raid Championship standings.
At his ninth attempt of the Dakar, Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren stood on the podium that has eluded him over the past few years after taking a hard fought 48 Hour Chrono stage victory, the sand specialist found his rhythm in the second week and had an immense battle with Ross Branch and teammate José Ignacio Cornejo for the podium. Despite a near miss with a camel yesterday, he fought right to the end for the runner-up spot but had to make do with the final podium place.
One of two Chilean riders in the Monster Energy Honda Team, ‘Nacho’ Cornejo had one of his career best performances at the famous rally, from the off he led in the standings and racked up a hat-trick of magnificent stage victories, also fighting for an elusive podium. Unfortunately, a fuel pump issue put paid to his fight yesterday and his final sixth place did not reflect on what a truly outstanding performance he produced.
His fellow Chilean, Pablo Quintanilla has been the runner up twice at the Dakar and as the most experienced member of the team was eager to turn his twelfth participation into victory. Unfortunately for the Dakar Legend, the 48 Hour Chrono would put paid to his chances when he ran short of fuel on the first day of the tough stage. Despite the disappointment he battled on helping his teammates and also taking valuable points in the World Rally-Raid Championship.
With the new generation Honda CRF450 RALLY now a rally winner, the Monster Energy Honda Team put on a powerful display on their first outing in 2024 as the stage wins racked up over the course of the two weeks. Tosha Schareina opened proceedings with the prologue victory, Nacho Cornejo gained the accolade of the most stage wins this year with three, Adrien Van Beveren banked two and Pablo Quintanilla and Ricky Brabec took one apiece to make seven in all.
With the team fully deserving of some rest and recuperation, they will reconvene in April for the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid in Portugal from 2nd – 7th April.
Ruben Faria (General Manager)
We had one goal today and it was to win the Dakar Rally with Ricky. We are so happy for him as he did an amazing job to take victory at this really tough Dakar. Adrien pushed as hard as he could to get second as it was still possible for him to achieve at the start of today’s stage. Although he missed out, we’re also pleased that he took that final step on the podium.
Fighting for the podium three days ago, the fuel line issue for Nacho sadly stopped him from joining in the fight with Ricky and Adrien. He showed impressive speed and navigation skills which deserved a much better result than his sixth place.
After Pablo ran out of fuel during the 48 Hours Chrono this lost him a lot of time and ended his chance for the podium. We’re happy that he made it to the finish and that it gave him the possibility to test the bike during this last week.
Our main goal at the start of this event was to win the Dakar, we started with six bikes and managed to get four to the final Parc Fermé at Yanbu. The team did a great job and I’m so proud of them.
Now we continue our work as we want to achieve the same result at the 2025 Dakar. We also have the World Rally-Raid Championship to focus on this year with the next rally in Portugal and Spain in April.
Pablo Quintanilla 7 (Stage: 12th; Overall: 11th)
“I’m happy to finish the rally, it was super tough and long this year. It wasn’t the result I was expecting, but I’m happy that I was able to manage all the issues I had during the rally and to finish my twelfth Dakar. I go home with a good feeling that I got to the end.”
Ricky Brabec 9 (Stage: 5th; Overall: 1st)
“It’s a nice way to start the year with a victory. It wasn’t easy as the course was really tough and so was the competition. Ross and my own team kept me on my toes, but not just me, I think we were keeping everyone on each other’s toes. It was definitely a fight to the end for everyone. I’m really happy we’re all here and all safe and we can go home. This time was a little bit different as I feel like this one was more earned as it was a lot tougher. In 2020, we had a big gap from the get-go. Here, I think me and Ross spent three days with a couple of seconds difference. It was a tight race for all of us. I think between first and third there are eleven minutes or something, whatever Adrien got, but it’s been a tight race and ten minutes is not a big gap here on the rally. I had two good days, two opportunities to make a good push, but also stage 11 was a scare factor for me because I knew Ross was starting behind me, 18 minutes behind, and if he caught me it would be over. Stage 11 was hard but I stayed focused, got to the finishing line and didn’t lose too much time, so I’m really happy with this and I’m really happy for the team. I’m happy for all of us, we did an excellent job all of the two weeks. I think number 9 will be my lucky number from now on.”
José Ignacio “Nacho” Cornejo 11 (Stage: 10th; Overall: 6th)
“I’ve finished another Dakar Rally that’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, from the excitement of doing really well during the two weeks and then the issue yesterday. But that’s racing and I’m happy for Ricky that he won and for Adrien that he got onto the podium too.
I think we did really well as a team, we won a lot of the stages, we opened a lot of them and we showed that a lot of the hard work we’ve been doing paid off.”
Adrien Van Beveren 42 (Stage: 4th; Overall: 3rd)
“After the last years and the difficulties I had, the crashes, all of that, overall, to be on the podium, finally on the podium of the Dakar, it tastes really good. I’ve been fighting until the end. We’ve finished third, but we were in the fight for victory. We are closer than ever to the dream. To step onto the podium is a step towards my dream of victory.”