Price wants to emulate Dakar legends with four-wheel switch

Toby Price

Toby Price says he plans to emulate legends such as Stephane Peterhansel by contesting the Dakar Rally in Cars in future years.

Price withstood the intense pain of a fractured wrist to win the Dakar for a second time this year and, while planning to remain on a bike in the medium term, he has earmarked a switch to four wheels in the future.

The 32-year-old already has offroad experience in cars and fell just short of winning this year’s Tatts Finke Desert Race in Central Australia in a trophy truck.

“They pretty much feel exactly the same (bikes and cars) except you have the roll cage around you,” began Price when asked if he wants to ‘follow in the footsteps’ of the likes of Peterhansel and Cyril Despres.

“So that’s 100 percent the goal to follow in the footsteps of Peterhansel and Despres, and get out there on four wheels and race the Dakar in the years to come.

“I’ve still got some unfinished business to do on two wheels. I definitely want to win one or two more on two wheels but we just don’t know how the body will be in five to eight years’ time, which is about the time I’d look to make the switch to four wheels hopefully.

“Yeah, that’s definitely the ultimate goal to try to chase that down.”

If Price can get anywhere near emulating the records of Peterhansel, he would earn a very special place in Dakar history.

The Frenchman is known as ‘Mr Dakar’, having won the event six times on a motorcycle and seven times in a car, while compatriot Hubert Auriol lays claim to two crowns on a bike and one in a car.

Spaniard Nani Roma has a crown in each discipline and Cyril Despres, another Frenchman, an overall podium in cars to go with five victories on a bike.

For the time being, Price’s four-wheel drives, including taking race wins in the ECB SuperUtes Series, are a side gig to his offroad motorcycle program as a KTM factory rider.

Having declared his wrist, which required surgery shortly after returning to Australia from this year’s Dakar, as “all fixed up now”, Price says that Finke and SuperUtes have kept him sharp for his return to motorcycle competition this week in the Atacama Rally.

“For sure, the four-wheel racing helps in some way even though it’s a different discipline and it doesn’t look the same,” he said.

“It keeps my reflexes sharp and my racecraft pretty handy I think.

“It’s always good being out doing the high rates of speed and having fun and trying to get the wrist (to) have low impact but (at the same time) put it under some strain and stresses you wouldn’t want to do in training sessions, so it’s been good.”

Price won the Prologue in the Atacama Rally and was eighth fastest in the first of five stages ending on Saturday (local time).

The event is the third round of the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Championship, which he won for the first time last year.

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