Price takes over Dakar lead on Stage 12

Dakar Stage 12

Toby Price has taken the overall lead on Dakar Stage 12

Red Bull KTM’s Toby Price is into the Dakar Rally lead after finishing third on Stage 12, behind Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo and compatriot Daniel Sanders.

The return leg of the Marathon pair of stages saw riders embark on a 185km special from the Empty Quarter back to Shaybah, traversing a mixture of sand and chott.

Monster Energy Honda’s Cornejo Florimo was quickest by a margin of 49 seconds over Red Bull GasGas rider Sanders, while Price beat Husqvarna’s Skyler Howes by 56 seconds

That was exactly double his deficit relative to the American when they woke up earlier in the morning and hence the two-time champion leads for the first time in Dakar 2023, by 28 seconds with just two stages to go.

On the other Red Bull KTMs, Kevin Benavides finished fourth on the special and Matthias Walkner fifth, meaning the former remains third overall, 2:40s back from Price.

CLICK HERE for Price reaction

Monster Energy Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla fourth at just under 15 minutes off the pace, from his team-mate Adrien Van Beveren, with Luciano Benavides sixth at exactly 20 minutes in arrears on the other factory Husqvarna.

Having bided his time so far, Price looked to go out hard at the start of Stage 12 and, despite setting off from third in the road order, was still quickest to the Kilometre 42 and 87 waypoints.

Opener bonuses kept the KTM man ahead of team-mate Kevin Benavides at Kilometre 128 but Sanders had earned even more time and hence had taken over the virtual stage lead by then.

The GasGas-mounted Australian was 40 seconds up on Cornejo Florimo at Kilometre 156 once his bonuses were accounted for, but the Chilean charged home for his first stage win of the event.

Kevin Benavides may have beaten Howes to fifth position on the special, but a slow journey from the penultimate waypoint to the finish line meant he missed an opportunity to also move up a position in the overall classification.

Sanders, who is still battling pain from the thorn in his arm, remains seventh overall at time of writing but is now just three seconds behind Luciano Benavides, who opened the stage and would set a time 4:20s slower than Cornejo Florimo’s.

Now, just two stages remain, the next being the journey from Shaybah to Al-Hofuf which includes a 154km special through a chain of dunes.

CLICK HERE for extended highlights of Stage 12

Overall classification: Bikes Top 10, Updated

Pos Rider Nat Team Time/Gap
1 Toby PRICE AUS Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 40:47:36
2 Skyler HOWES USA Husqvarna Factory Racing +0:00:28
3 Kevin BENAVIDES ARG Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0:02:40
4 Pablo QUINTANILLA CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +0:14:54
5 Adrien VAN BEVEREN FRA Monster Energy Honda Team +0:16:14
6 Luciano BENAVIDES ARG Husqvarna Factory Racing +0:20:00
7 Daniel SANDERS AUS Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing +0:20:03
8 Jose Ignacio CORNEJO FLORIMO CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +0:23:14
9 Matthias WALKNER AUT Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0:44:24
10 Mason KLEIN USA BAS World KTM Racing Team +0:54:58

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