Stage three results from the 2024 Dakar Rally where KTM Factory Racing’s Kevin Benavides claims his first victory of this year’s race after Quintanilla and Barreda are caught speeding – Ross Branch remains in charge overall for Hero Motorsports.


2024 Dakar Rally Stage 3 in a nutshell – Al Duwadimi > Al salamiya, Special: 438km Liaison: 295km

  • The 733 kilometres (455 miles) stage three of the 2024 Dakar was another one of those which, if you take two minutes on Google Maps, will blow your mind a little how far they rode a dirt bike.
  • Winner of stage two, Jose Cornejo, was the first rider to check out the paddock on his HRC machine shortly after 5am this morning facing nearly two hours on the road, in the cold to reach the stage start for dawn.
  • 15 minutes behind, starting from P6, the two-times Dakar winner Sam Sunderland went through all of this, all his pre-special test routine warming up, only to have his GASGAS fail just 11 kilometres later. Read our separate story on the link below but the race organisers said he basically had no oil in his bike, tried for over three hours to find some but eventually had to throw in the towel.

Sam Sunderland out of 2024 Dakar Rally

  • Stage three was a really mixed one in terms of riding, featuring everything from dunes to fast piste and tracks to those dreaded rocks again which so many riders complained about on day one.
  • The race unfolded with Mason Klein and Pablo Quintanilla the early leaders with Joan Barreda, Kevin Benavides, Ross Branch and Adrien Van Beveren within a minute or two.
  • With his Kove fixed and with a new engine following his own issues yesterday, Klein started at the back of the RallyGP class (despite finishing in 110th place) and led on corrected time before more mechanical woes again caught the American privateer who has zero time to prep his bike. By kilometre 300 Mason was again stopped again, fixing his bike.
  • Meanwhile it was a Spanish speaking shootout for the stage win with Quintanilla on a mission, ahead of the third most succesful rider in Dakar history (stage wins that is), Joan Barreda and last year’s winner Kevin Benavides.
  • In actual fact Barreda was fastest on the stage, followed by K Ben just eight seconds behind on corrected time, and due to grabbing stage bonus time, Quintanilla claimed 3:33 back and leapt ahead of both.
  • But (there’s often a but when you’re watching Dakar), not for the first time Pablo Quintanilla and Joan Barreda were caught speeding. And so it was both were handed time penalties and gifting Kevin Benavides the stage win, his first this year since winning overall in 2023.
  • Ricky Brabec had a very solid afternoon to haul it back into podium contention and eventually finish second, 1:11 behind Benavides – sometimes it seems like the big guy gauges his pace based on the news he gets at refuelling and time check points.
  • Adrien Van Beveren took his best stage result of this year’s Dakar in P3 and Skyler Howes (more on him below) took fourth.
  • Ross Branch collected fifth on the stage and remains the race leader by just over three minutes. Who’d have put money on the Indian manufacturer Hero leading the Dakar on consecutive Dakar days? They and Branch deserve credit here.
  • On the flip side, Hero are down to two riders now. After Joaquim Rodrigues crashed heavily on stage one, Sebastien Buhler did the same today and was also airlifted off to the hospital for check-ups. Toby Price and Skyler Howes were the riders on the scene first, helping Sebastien (see below) – they were added time back for their sporting behaviour. Price also lost time when he stopped to help Sunderland early doors.


  • Stage two winner Jose Cornejo finished P6 today with over four minutes of time bonuses after running like trooper out front on the Honda. It looked like a tough day to lead but he sits second overall around a minute ahead of his HRC teammate Brabec.
  • Honda are the dominant manufacturer here so far with Quintanilla and Van Beveren also in the top five overall – Benavides is onboard the first Austrian bike in sixth, still 20 minutes off the race lead.
  • Romain Dumontier was back on it today in Rally 2 class and retakes the second-tier category lead following a P11 finish in among the factory riders. Toni Mulec was second in class (P14 scratch) with Sherco’s Harith Noah third (P17 scratch). Dumontier has a healthy 27’ lead over Bradley Cox in the R2 general standings. 
  • USA off-road fans will want to know one of their own, Jacob Augubright was looking good for a podium in R2 class today but suffered a bike problem not far short of the special finish line and was forced to abandon the day.
  • P54 for Jane Daniels on the Fantic Factory Rally bike today as she continues to lead the women’s category.
  • Tonight’s chow down is a kind of mini marathon stage-style with competitors able to see a “lite” version of their pit crews for just two hours. The crews then clear off to the next bivouac, leaving the riders another 172km road ride to bed down for the night in giant tents and get themselves up tomorrow morning for a 531km stage four, heading to Al Hofuf.

2024 Dakar Rally Stage 3 results (provisional):



Provisional overall classification after stage 3, RallyGP class:


Rally 2 class:


Photo Credit: Honda Racing | Meht + A.S.O. F. Le Floc’h + Rally Zone