Rallying: Dakar Motorcycle leader Cornejo retires with two stages remaining

Dakar Rally
FILE PHOTO: Rallying - Dakar Rally - Stage 4 - Wadi Ad-Dawasir to Riyadh - Wadi Ad-Dawasir, Saudi Arabia - January 6, 2021 Monster Energy Honda Team 2021's Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo in action during stage 4 REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

January 13, 2021

(Reuters) – Overnight motorcycle leader Jose Ignacio Cornejo retired from the Dakar Rally on Wednesday, with the battle for victory now looking like a straight fight between defending champion Ricky Brabec and Argentine Kevin Benavides with two stages to go.

Cornejo crashed at the 252km mark of the 342km 10th stage of the event in Saudi Arabia but managed to finish before having to withdraw, following a medical examination, due to the risk of concussion.

The Chilean had been 11 minutes ahead at the start of the day.

Brabec won the stage from Neom to Al-Ula, the U.S. rider now 51 seconds behind Honda team mate Benavides with Britain’s Sam Sunderland third on a KTM but 10 minutes and 36 seconds off the lead.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by…)