Price breaks leg in Dakar crash
Defending champion Toby Price is out of this year’s Dakar Rally after breaking his left thigh bone following a crash on his factory KTM motorcycle on the fourth stage of the event in South America.
The Australian was leading on the last part of the 416km stage from San Salvador de Jujuy to Tupiza in Bolivia when he lost control at more than 90km/h, 45km from the finish.
The spirit of the competitors came to the fore with Paulo Goncalves, the next rider on the scene of Price’s accident, stopping to offer assistance. He lost more than 20 minutes by ensuring officials were notified and making sure Price was stable. Event organisers have the option to credit the Portuguese rider with time ahead of tomorrow’s stage.
“Doesn’t matter the outcome today,” said Goncalves.
“Toby fell in front of me and needed my help. I will catch up later”
The KTM team later confirmed Price was being transported to the Bolivian capital La Paz for further treatment.
The stage was won by Price’s team-mate and Matthias Walkner, who also stopped briefly at the scene of Price’s crash.
“I felt pretty good on the bike, but I didn’t think it was enough for victory,” said Walkner.
“But the bad thing is that Toby crashed. I hope he is more or less OK.
“I stopped with him and then they showed me that it was over for him. Health is the most important thing.
“We’re not even half way there and the finish is so far away. After ten days more maybe we can speak about victory, because with the three minute gap it changes so fast, like yesterday when Joan was ten minutes in front of everybody. There’s a really long way to go”.
It was a disappointing day also for fellow Australian Rodney Faggotter who after setting top 10 times, failed to complete the stage with mechanical issues.
That leaves just two Australians in the event with Todd Smith finishing the stage in 14th to be 21st outright, while Matthew Hart was 54th on the stage and is 46th overall.
Renowned for his consistency and the first man to win the Dakar on only his second attempt, Price’s retirement from the event appeared to put KTM’s dominance of the event under serious threat from Honda’s Joan Barreda. However, officials have given Barreda and the other works Honda riders 60-minute penalties after it was found that they refuelled in a prohibited zone during the day’s stage.
It means that Chilean Pablo Quintanilla on a Husqvarna is the overall leader by 2m07s over Walkner. Berreda is now back in seventh.
There was drama in the car category with Nasser Al-Attiyah unable to start the stage in his Toyota after serious damage following yesterday’s incident where he conceded over two hours when losing a wheel.
It was Spanish hero Carlos Sainz’s turn to hit dramas when he lost two hours after rolling his Peugeot. After the car returned to service in the Bivouac it was clear that the damage was too great and the car was retired from the event.
Sainz’s team-mate and Dakar legend Cyril Despres who won the stage and now leads the general standings.
Despres had a dream day, picking up his first stage victory behind the wheel of a car and climbing to the top of the general standings.
The Frenchman took advantage of the problems encountered by his team-mates Stephane Peterhansel, who got stuck in a hole, Sebastien Loeb (turbo) and Sainz.
In the quad race, Walter Nosiglia finally won his first victory on the Dakar in his home country. Russian Sergey Karyakin holds a narrow overall lead over Chile’s Ignacio Casale.
Iveco driver Gerard de Rooy won the stage in the trucks, with Dmitry Sotnikov leading overall in a Kamaz.
In the UTV section Brazil’s Leandro Torres won the stage in his Polaris, with China’s Mao Ruijin heading the overall classification lead.
The Dakar’s fifth stage will continue north on the Bolivian Altiplano. Competitors can expect a vast range of terrain and organisers say the stage will be one of the most demanding. There will be two challenging dune sectors in the final kilometers of the 447 km timed special and they will contest for a total of 692 km to get to the stop at Oruro. After this long day, they only have one more stage before the one rest day in La Paz.
VIDEO: Stage 4
VIDEO: Sainz crash