Nacho Cornejo narrowly missed out on a maiden stage victory on the 10th and final day of the 2019 Dakar Rally. The runner-up spot in today’s special placed him in a position which greatly improves on last year’s performance.
Chilean rider Nacho Cornejo showed his pace yet again, marking the best time during the final special timed stage of the Dakar Rally fought in the Ica dunes close to Paracas. Cornejo, with the second final position, 2’21 behind the special stage winner, concludes his best Dakar performance to date, improving on the tenth overall position achieved in the most recent edition. Today the rider posted seventh place in the general standings this year – a promising result for the young man from Iquique.
Kevin Benavides, meanwhile, was sixth on the day, finishing the rally in 12th overall position due to an extraordinary sanction that the rider picked up which the team is currently disputing.
Jose Ignacio Cornejo (STAGE: 2ND OVERALL: 7TH): “The truth is that I am very happy about the comeback that I have made. At the beginning I lost time in one stage and the chances of being in the top 10 were a little bit off, but we did not give up and pushed until the end. I ended up being seventh in the general, so I’m very happy.
“I am also satisfied with today’s stage, a second place is very good, I think I made a good performance. I would have liked it too if my companions could have finished the race, as some of them would have achieved the victory. At one point we had two riders fighting for the victory and we go home know that we have five riders in the squad capable of fighting for the top, which is very positive for the team. I have no doubt that next year we will return stronger.
“Personally, I will continue to work hard to keep up with the team’s objectives for the next edition of the Dakar. I want to thank all the staff of the team that have worked very hard, thank them for the great commitment they have with the project. We will continue working hard to achieve victory in the coming years.”
Kevin Benavides (STAGE: 6TH OVERALL: 12TH): “It didn’t turn out the way we thought it would finish, obviously I have prepared a lot for this edition, I had a very big dream to fight for. It’s a bit ugly to end up like this and that things are resolved at a table. Finally I finished the race in a decent way, with my head held high as a good athlete. Both Honda and I have done things well. We have appealed against the penalty and now we will have to wait until the race is over to see what happens. For my part today I went out to enjoy the last stage, I rode calmly.
“Our next goal is the world championship and then to prepare for the next Dakar. I want to thank all the team, sponsors, family, girlfriend, friends and all the people who support me through social networks. Thank you very much to all.”