Waypoint drama for Price on Stage 11

Toby Price

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price says a drama in trying to activate a waypoint was costly on Stage 11 of the Dakar Rally.

The two-time Dakar champion’s already slim chances of snaring a third such title in 2022 were snuffed out when he set the 28th-fastest time on the second-last day of the event.

Price dropped from sixth to 10th overall and is now 52:27s off the overall lead.

The Australian had to open the road after winning Stage 10, while Monster Energy Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren was fourth out, and both commented on the troubles they had early in the 11th special.

“It was super dusty today and navigation was tough,” said Price.

“I had a frustrating problem early on at Kilometre 4 where one waypoint didn’t validate, even though I’m pretty sure I was in the right place.

“I had to zigzag back and forward and thankfully in the end, even though I was on the same track, it activated.

“Hopefully we can have that checked, but other than that the day went OK; I felt good on the bike and arrived safely at the finish line.

“One more day to go tomorrow, and that will be the 2022 Dakar complete.”

Van Beveren went from the rally lead to fourth overall, at more than seven minutes away even from the podium positions.

“After four kilometres I looked for a waypoint that didn’t open,” recounted the Frenchman.

“I’m not sure it was in the right place. I lost a lot of time, that got me cross and I sped off.

“I was at 200 percent and I gave myself a few frights, so I calmed down.

“After that, I nearly ran out of petrol.

“It’s a tough outcome, but I really gave it my all. It’s true that the guys in front didn’t try to help me.

“I have no regrets.”

Sam Sunderland

GasGas Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland takes a tantalising, 6:52s lead in this afternoon’s final stage, of which the special distance is only 164km.

Sunderland won Dakar 2017 with sister marque KTM, and the Austrian’s best hope is 2018 champion Matthias Walkner, who is 7:15s back in third spot.

“It was a really long and really fast stage today,” said Walkner.

“It was very dusty this morning too, which made the navigation even more difficult.

“I made a few small mistakes, but I really did try my best all day pushing as hard as I could.

“Finally, I was able to make the finish with a good time and it puts me in a good position for tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens.”

Kevin Benavides, on the other Red Bull KTM entry in the field, won Stage 11 and thus leads out for the return to Jeddah this afternoon (AEDT).

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]