After their well earned and much needed rest day, riders take on the first part of the marathon stage today.

A total of 284 km of liaison and a 453 km special ending in the bivouac at Sakaka, where they will have to do all the necessary maintenance on their bikes themselves. Let’s hope there’s not too much carnage, or there’ll be a very late night for some!

There’s an almost equal mix of surfaces between sand and soil today, but there’s a “fearsome sequence of sand mountains and 100 km of up-and -down racing almost without interruption”.

The first part of today’s stage comes to an end with a series of stony plateaus and a mix of winding and fast sections.

And it’s a cold 8° and raining this morning in Ha’il!

Only 78 bikes officially remain in the 2021 Dakar Rally, although another 10 will take to the start line to gain experience.

Sara Jugla and Alexandre Bispo, who were stranded in the sand dunes overnight on Stage 5, are 2 of those 10 who will continue today.

Stage 6 winner Joan Barreda will lead the field away today on the special at 7:45 am (local time), and all eyes will be on him to see if he can shake the curse that saw many stage winners drop down the standings the very next day.

Coca-Cola Nomadas Adventure rider Andrew Houlihan (#62 – KTM 450RFR) will start the special at 8:55 am and his teammate Pablo Guillen (#35 – KTM 450RFR) will leave 3 and a half minutes earlier.

You can follow the live timing here.