Howes leads Price by three seconds after Dakar Stage 9

Toby Price Dakar

Toby Price is second overall after Dakar Stage 9

Toby Price has reduced Skyler Howes’ Dakar Rally lead to just three seconds after finishing second to Luciano Benavides on Stage 9.

After a rest day, the aforementioned three riders started well back in the road order for the rocky, 358km special between Riyadh and Haradh, after their struggles opening on Stage 8.

They took advantage, with Red Bull KTM’s Price and Husqvarna’s Luciano Benavides swapping the stage lead multiple times before the latter finally prevailed by 1:02s.

While Benavides is out of contention for event victory, Price started the day three positions and 1:58s seconds behind Howes and beat the other Husqvarna Factory Racing rider in the field by 1:55s seconds on Stage 9.

Furthermore, while wet stones meant that the field tightened up dramatically on Stage 8, Howes and Price are now the firm favourites given the rider in third overall, Red Bull KTM’s Kevin Benavides, is another 5:06s off the pace and Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy Honda) is fourth at over 15 minutes back from top spot.

Kevin Benavides was fifth-quickest on the day, one position behind Monster Energy Honda’s Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo, but the rest of the big guns struggled.

Daniel Sanders (Red Bull GasGas), Van Beveren, Mason Klein (BAS World KTM), Pablo Quintanilla (Monster Energy Honda), and Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM), among others, appeared to get lost between the Kilometre 85 and Kilometre 123 waypoints.

Quintanilla retains fifth overall but is now 18:24s behind Howes, with Klein sixth from Luciano Benavides, Cornejo Florimo, Sanders, and Lorezno Santolino (Sherco Factory).

Joan Barreda Bort (Monster Energy JB Honda) has gone from eighth overall to out of the race after a crash just 16km into the special saw him airlifted to hospital.

Tomorrow’s Stage 10 features sand and a total of 624km of riding, although the special is just 114km long.

CLICK HERE for extended highlights of Stage 9

Overall classification: Bikes Top 10

Pos Rider Nat Team Time/Gap
1 Skyler HOWES USA Husqvarna Factory Racing 33:55:57
2 Toby PRICE AUS Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0:00:03
3 Kevin BENAVIDES ARG Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0:05:09
4 Adrien VAN BEVEREN FRA Monster Energy Honda Team +0:15:40
5 Pablo QUINTANILLA CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +0:18:24
6 Mason KLEIN USA BAS World KTM Racing Team +0:18:42
7 Luciano BENAVIDES ARG Husqvarna Factory Racing +0:21:35
8 Jose Ignacio CORNEJO FLORIMO CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +0:22:47
9 Daniel SANDERS AUS Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing +0:23:47
10 Lorenzo SANTOLINO ESP Sherco Factory +0:40:38

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