Dakar 2024 Stage 3 results: Hero, Ross Branch hold on to lead


Ross Branch holds on to the overall lead, while Harith Noah has climbed up to P18.

The Dakar Rally has always been an event of attrition, and this is certainly holding true in the 2024 edition. Indian squad Hero MotoSports is now down to just two riders after Sebastian Buhler crashed out on the latest Stage 3.  But the team is still going strong and Ross Branch is holding on to the overall lead of the rally.

  1. Branch leads, 3 mins ahead of Cornejo
  2. Toyota’s Lucas Moraes scores first Dakar stage win

Ross Branch leads Dakar 2024 after Stage 3

The 438km timed special in Stage 3 was lined with stony and sandy tracks, some fast tracks, hills, dunes and canyons. It was also part of the semi-marathon stage, with assistance crews given just 2 hours to service vehicles. After that competitors have to spend the night in a different bivouac away from their teams.

Ross Branch, who has been leading the rally since the very start, lost some time due to navigational errors. But he did just enough to set the fifth fastest time in the stage and hold on to the overall lead, a little over three minutes clear of Honda’s Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo.

“It was in fact a really weird stage for me. In the morning I was doing very well, but then ended up making some navigational errors and lost time with a particular waypoint. I’m happy, however, to be here in one piece,” said Branch.

Joan Barreda Bort was on course to finishing second overall. But a speeding penalty dropped him down to 15th place. He has gained a place in the general ranking, though, and is now 12th overall.

Buhler crashes out on Stage 3

Sebastian Buhler was riding in the top 10 when he crashed around 360km into Stage 3, injuring his back. Fellow competitors Toby Price and Skyler Howes stopped to help him and he was airlifted to the nearest hospital.

Hero MotoSports has revealed that first checks have not shown any severe injuries and he’s expected to recover and join the team soon. However, this is the end of his Dakar 2024 journey since Rally GP competitors are not allowed to continue the rally if they don’t finish a stage.

With Joaquim Rodrigues also out of the rally after his Stage 1 crash, the Hero MotoSports rider squad is down to just Branch and Bort.

Harith Noah up to 18th overall

After a difficult opening stage, Harith Noah continued to climb up the rankings. “[I] feel physically normal again, no headaches,” the Indian revealed.

“Today was supposed to be difficult navigation, especially towards the end. I focused on it as much as [I] could, rather than speed. It was also very important to get the bike through today without any crashes or problems as it’s a marathon stage with only two hours of service post-stage.”

Having set the 17th fastest time in Stage 3, he’s now up to 18th place overall in the general ranking.

Al-Rajhi takes cars lead

Over in the cars category, Overdrive Racing’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi has taken the overall lead from Audi driver Carlos Sainz. Toyota’s Lucas Moraes took his first Dakar stage win, nine seconds ahead of Audi’s Mattias Ekstrom.

Also see:

Dakar 2024: Hero’s Ross Branch wins Stage 1



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