Price in world championship box seat after Dakar champ breaks leg

Toby Price

Toby Price

Kevin Benavides, who beat KTM team-mate Toby Price to victory in Dakar by 43 seconds, has been ruled out of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge due to a broken leg.

The Argentine crashed during shakedown tests for Round 2 of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, breaking his right femur.

He has now undergone surgery and is expected to be discharged from hospital in coming days, but will not take part in the Abu Dhabi event.

Benavides had scored 38 championship points for winning the Dakar Rally but is likely to lose the lead next week, with Price eight points in arrears and Husqvarna’s Skyler Howes six points further back, and 25 points on offer to the winner of Round 2.

Red Bull KTM Rally Team Manager Norbert Stadlbauer said, “Yesterday was a very sad day for the whole team with our top Dakar Rally rider having a crash and breaking his femur.

“After winning the Dakar and leading the points standings in the world championship, Kevin was preparing to take on Round 2 of the series and hopefully secure another outstanding result.

“Thankfully, it looks like the surgery went well and Kevin has already begun his road to recovery.”

Kevin Benavides

Kevin Benavides

Price will be Red Bull KTM’s only rider in Round 2, with Matthias Walkner still recovering from a wrist injury which he incurred at Dakar.

“It’s been about four weeks since Dakar so I’m really keen to get back on the bike and back racing,” said the Australian.

“It’s not much of a break after what was such a long and intense opening round to the season, but I’m feeling good and looking forward to getting started.

“I’ve had a little time to get reacquainted with the KTM 450 Rally, and we know we’ve got a good motorcycle.

“We just need things to fall into place now and see what the race will bring.”

The Abu Dhabi Prologue takes place this Sunday, before five more days of racing.

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