Stage 2 results from the 2024 Dakar Rally where Monster Energy Honda’s Nacho Cornejo claims his seventh career win ahead of W2RC champion Luciano Benavides and Pablo Quintanilla – Ross Branch retains the overall race lead for Hero Motorsports.


2024 Dakar Stage 2 in a nutshell – Al Henakiyah > Al Duwadimi, Special: 462km Liaison: 192km:

  • A dose of dunes greeted the riders off the start today, stage two of the Dakar and another long one albeit with much less rocks (to the relief of many…). The dunes were short-lived on a largely tall gears kinda day which totalled 463 kilometres (654km including the liaisons), with “77% dirt track” to let rip on.
  • Two of the top 10 hit mechanical gremlins as the drama continued at this very early stage of the rally. Mason Klein and Lorenzo Santolino both had technical issues, Klein just over 40km into the special, Lorenzo around an hour and half later. 


  • Mason was eventually back underway but only after spending two hours on the tools fixing his Kove and would finish the day 107 places lower than he did yesterday, plus he took 15 minutes extra for an engine change at the end of the day. Sadly for Sherco’s main man Santo it was game over after his engine failed. 
  • Leading out the stage after his win yesterday, Hero Motorports’ Ross Branch was still flying but fighting a losing battle as riders behind closed him down. He, along with Ricky Brabec and Honda teammate Nacho Cornejo, picked up healthy time bonuses for opening the piste with slightly new rules this year.
  • As the organisers put it, the rule is “to mitigate the disadvantage of the first rider and, where applicable, the whole group he is riding with, if the other competitors in the group are within 15 seconds.” So 1 s/km gets added to all the riders in the group, split into sections of the stage but effectively for most of the special.
  • Naturally finding one another again on the stage, Brabec and Cornejo caught Branch and these three laid down the tracks for others to follow. Each received healthy time bonuses for their trouble (4:01 for Nacho, 5:31 for Brabec and 4:10 for Branch).  
  • The fight for the stage lead on corrected time see-sawed back and forth a little between Cornejo, Pablo Quintanilla and world champ Luciano Benavides. But the HRC pulled the pin later in the stage, hoovering up the bonuses and despite a crash (when Brabec and Branch stopped to pick him up basically) the one they call Nacho was the rider of the day.
  • Happier with the terrain, Luciano Benavides finished second just under six minutes down but just 13 seconds ahead of Quintanilla who finished third and was one of four Hondas in the top 10.
  • Sebastien Buhler had a good day after bashing his nav tower to bits yesterday and losing time, he finished fourth in a tight battle with Quintanilla, Brabec and Sunderland for positions. Around one minute seperated third to sixth.
  • After finishing day one over 20 minutes down, Pablo along with riders like Kevin Benavides, Toby Price, Sam Sunderland, Daniel Sanders, Adrien Van Beveren…the list goes on…needed to get a shift on if they want to stop the fast front lads getting a strong hold on the overall classification.
  • Who’s leading overall? Branch did enough today to maintain the lead of the rally with Cornejo closing right in to 2:55 and Brabec 7:15 further back. These three are in a strong place if they can control things, even at this early point in proceedings.
  • Everyone else meanwhile still has work to do with Quintanilla the next best, over 15 minutes in fourth, Luciano Benavides, Sanders, Sunderland, Price, Van Beveren and Stefan Svitko complete the top 10 scratch but are all 17, 18, 19 and 20 minutes adrift respectively.
  • Big-hitters Sanders and Kevin Benavides both made costly navigation mistakes today and looking at the overall, the ’23 Dakar winner was 19th today, not happy, nearly 23 minutes off the pace overall by our maths and with work to do.
  • The best of the Rally 2 riders had a mixed bag set of results. Bradley Cox and Romain Dumontier were holding top 10 positions but Cox had issues mid-stage and finished outside the top 30. Dumontier also had troubles but lost less time to finish P23. That left Frenchman Jeanloup Lepan free to take his first R2 stage win, 15th scratch, ahead of Diego Llanos 18th and Toni Mulec 20th sandwiching last year’s race winner no less...
  • Jane Daniels finished 71st on stage two, 37th in Rally2 class and the EnduroGP champion continues to lead the women’s category in her first Dakar. 

Full day results are below Honda’s daily update video gives a pretty good feel for the stage...


2024 Dakar Rally Stage 2 results (provisional):



Provisional overall classification after stage 2, RallyGP class:


Rally 2 classification:



Photo Credit: Honda Racing + Hero Motorsports + Marcin Kin