Dakar 2022, Stage 7: Van Beveren takes overall lead, Cornejo wins
Yamaha rider Adrien van Beveren moved into the overall lead of the Dakar Rally's bikes contest on Stage 7, as Jose Ignacio Cornejo took victory and overnight leader Sam Sunderland struggled.
With many of the leading riders struggling on Sunday's 402km Riyadh-Al Dawadimi test, van Beveren was able to leapfrog from the fourth position he held at the rest day into the top spot.
The French rider gained a position even before the start as GasGas rider Daniel Sanders crashed out during the liaison section before the timed special, while the Australian's teammate Sunderland and his nearest rival, KTM's Matthias Walkner, both lost in excess of 20 minutes.
Van Beveren didn't have the smoothest of runs either, dropping 11 minutes and 22 seconds in relation to the Honda of Cornejo - who took his first stage win of the Dakar and the third of his career.
But the time he gained on Sunderland and Walkner has put the Yamaha man in command of the leaderboard with five stages remaining, 5m12s ahead of Walkner.
Eighth at the rest day, reigning champion Kevin Benavides (KTM) proved to be Cornejo's nearest challenger on the stage, finishing just 44 seconds in arrears of the Chilean rider.
It means Benavides has jumped to third overall, 5m23s behind van Beveren, while Sunderland - GasGas's sole representative after Sanders' exit - is now fourth, 5m38s off the lead.
Sherco man Lorenzo Santolino gained one position to sit fifth overall, moving ahead of top Honda man Pablo Quintanilla in sixth place.
Despite nursing a shoulder injury from a crash on Stage 5, Honda's Joan Barreda was third-fastest on the stage to move up to seventh overall ahead of KTM privateer Stefan Svitko, Cornejo and the second Yamaha of Andrew Short.
Just behind in 11th is KTM's Toby Price, just under 30 minutes away from the lead, while Honda's Ricky Brabec gained time on the leaders and sits 14th overall, 38 minutes adrift of van Beveren.
Standings after Stage 7:
|1||42||Adrien van Beveren||YAMAHA||23:45:02||00:00:00|
|5||15||Lorenzo Santolino||SHERCO FACTORY||23:51:36||+00:06:34||00:00:00|
|9||11||Jose Ignacio Cornejo||HONDA||24:11:39||+00:26:37||00:00:00|
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