Kevin Benavides: “I've won the Dakar - I'm so, so happy!”

January 15 th 2021 - 11:40 [GMT + 3]

On his 5th participation, the Argentinean Honda rider has become the first South American to win the category on completion of a very eventful race.

“It was absolutely crazy. I started third and after fifty kilometres I was in front opening the stage. I feel that everything was complicated, because Ricky started to catch up with me. I started to push a lot, all day, and stayed focused, so I did a good job today. Also, I went at one hundred and ten percent, but now it's true: I've won the Dakar - I'm so, so happy! I did some mistakes, for sure. I think it’s impossible to do a perfect Dakar. The important thing is to always continue, to stay calm and focused day by day and to work hard day by day. On stage 5 I was worried, because I crashed so fast and hit my head and my ankle and felt a lot of pain. On that day I said maybe the Dakar is finished for me. But I continued pushing. Now I still have some pain, but at the moment I am more happy than in pain, so it’s no problem. I think I where I won the race was today, in the last kilometres! You couldn't think of winning during this Dakar, you had to keep focused. You don’t think, you just concentrate on the action and nothing else, because everything can change in one second. I am really proud to be the first South American winner. My dream was also to make history and now I am the first South American guy to win the Dakar. That is amazing for me. For sure, we did a really good job all throughout the Dakar like team-mates. Nacho had a really bad crash and also Joan, but we did a really good job as a team”.

Et.12 - Kevin Benavides - ESP
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Et.12 - Kevin Benavides - US
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Benavides Kevin (arg), Honda, Monster Energy Honda Team 2021, Motul, Moto, Bike, portrait during the 12th stage of the Dakar 2021 between Yanbu and Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia on January 15, 2021
Benavides Kevin (arg), Honda, Monster Energy Honda Team 2021, Motul, Moto, Bike, portrait during the 12th stage of the Dakar 2021 between Yanbu and Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia on January 15, 2021 © Florent Gooden / DPPI

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