Proudly raising the flag, Australian Toby Price has won the third stage of the Dakar Rally held in Saudi Arabia as American Skyler Howes took the overall lead in the motorbike category.
The Australian two-times champion, who had also bagged Sunday’s opening stage, beat Argentine rider Kevin Benavides by a minute and 16 seconds after the 403km loop around Wadi Ad-Dawasir. Despite the win, on Monday he started off the 29th.
In a statement, Price revealed navigating the course had been a challenge, but so far his Red Bull KTM bike had been in grand condition on the off-road, endurance race. “The difficulty of the navigation means it’s hard to open the road. But it’s been a good day for me. The bike’s working well, I didn’t fall and I didn’t have any fuel problems like yesterday.”
He added “It’s going to come down to the last day I think, so as long as everyone’s bikes are still going, injury-free, no problems, then I think it’s going to be a right finish. A hard finish for all of us.”
On the said race, riders and drivers in the Dakar Rally pilot on sand dunes, rocks and rough terrain in Saudi Arabia, even sometimes travelling more than 700km within a day.
The second stage had seen a clear-out of the standings, with Price finishing 32 minutes behind stage winner Joan Barreda. Yet, the Australian’s strong stage moved Price back up to fourth, one minute 52 seconds off the lead, with Britain’s 2017 winner Sam Sunderland fifth.
Meanwhile, Howes, who had been eighth overall overnight, completed fourth on his non-factory KTM to take the lead 33 seconds clear of Benavides.
Consequently, the Spaniard Barreda had dropped to eighth overall, now more than nine minutes late than Howes, after having to open the stage through the desert dunes.