Howes extends lead over Price on Dakar Stage 6

Skyler Howes continues to lead overall after Dakar Stage 6

Skyler Howes continues to lead overall after Dakar Stage 6. Picture: ASO/DPPI/Florent Gooden

Skyler Howes has extended his overall lead to Toby Price as both finished in the top three on Stage 6 of the 2023 Dakar Rally.

Howes is now 3:32s to the good after he was second-quickest in a shortened, 358km special from Ha’il to Riyadh, which was won by Luciano Benavides in a Husqvarna Factory Racing one-two.

Red Bull KTM riders sit second and third overall with Kevin Benavides 7:01s off the pace.

Monster Energy JB’s Joan Barreda Bort (Honda) pressed on after a crash on Stage 5 and now sits fourth in the rally standings, from Monster Energy Honda’s Adrien Van Beveren, who lost ground having opened the stage.

After dropping well over 20 minutes due to illness on Stage 5, Red Bull GasGas’s erstwhile rally leader, Daniel Sanders, is still eighth overall at 19:48s behind Howes.

Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (Monster Energy Honda) was second onto the road for Stage 6 and was quickest for the first 207, sandy kilometres, thanks in part to opener bonus time.

Howes then took over the ascendancy and was still 40 seconds up on Luciano Benavides at the penultimate waypoint before being run down by his team-mate in the last 54km.

It means that the Husqvarna-mounted Benavides is the seventh different winner in six stages plus the Prologue.

Price kept in touch throughout, reaching the finish line 2:28s slower than the benchmark time and pipping Barreda Bort to the day’s podium by just five seconds, while Kevin Benavides was fifth on the day.

CLICK HERE for reaction from Price

Mason Klein (BAS World KTM) fell twice during the day and dropped to sixth overall at 12:42s off the pace, with Pablo Quintanilla (Monster Energy Honda) seventh.

Sanders might not have been at his best but he only ceded 1:58s relative to Howes, although he is now the last rider within 20 minutes of first overall.

UPDATE: Sanders suspects he may have been poisoned by a thorn

Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (Monster Energy Honda) and Luciano Benavides round out the top 10.

Stage 7 runs from Riyadh back to Al Duwadimi, with a 333km special in the middle of what is an 861km journey in total.

UPDATE: Stage 7 cancelled for Bikes, Quads

Overall classification: Bikes Top 10, Updated

Pos Rider Nat Team Time/Gap
1 Skyler HOWES USA Husqvarna Factory Racing 26:31:52
2 Toby PRICE AUS Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0:03:31
3 Kevin BENAVIDES ARG Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0:07:01
4 Joan BARREDA BORT ESP Monster Energy JB Team +0:10:57
5 Adrien VAN BEVEREN FRA Monster Energy Honda Team +0:12:20
6 Pablo QUINTANILLA CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +0:12:22
7 Mason KLEIN USA BAS World KTM Racing Team +0:12:46
8 Daniel SANDERS AUS Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing +0:19:54
9 Luciano BENAVIDES ARG Husqvarna Factory Racing +0:24:07
10 Jose Ignacio CORNEJO FLORIMO CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +0:24:23

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