News 17 Jan 2016

Australian hero Price conquers Dakar Rally

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider dominant in second attempt.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price on Saturday won the 2016 Dakar Rally to give KTM its 15th victory in the world’s toughest annual rally raid.

Price’s victory was also the first time an Australian rider has taken the title and the first time in the history of the event that a rider had won it on a second attempt – he was third last year on debut.

Price, who wrapped up the more than 9000km ride in 48 hours nine minutes 15 seconds, finished an impressive 39 minutes 41 ahead of second-placed KTM rider Stefan Svitko and Pablo Quintanilla.

“Winning in my second participation is awesome, but being the first Australian to win the Dakar is just insane,” Price explained. “I would’ve never imagined this two years ago. Finishing the rally is already a triumph. Winning it is amazing!

“I tackled the race in true Aussie style. I attacked when I had to, when the time was right, and I kept an eye on my bike during the all-important marathon stages.

“I also navigated quite well. I hope this is just the start, to win again. It won’t be easy, so I’ve got to savour this victory.”

The Australian was a dominating presence throughout the rally, which this year also had to deal with extreme weather conditions ranging from thunderstorms and flooding to intense temperatures.

Aware that he had to prove his third place podium in 2015 was no coincidence, he prepared well and picked up his first stage win in the second stage after the first one was washed out by thunderstorms.

He went on to survive the high altitudes of Bolivia, won stages 5-6 and before the rest day in Salta he had moved into second overall. Refreshed and recharged, Price went on to win the eighth and ninth stages to firmly establish himself as the man to beat.

As the rally went into more difficult navigation and at times blistering temperatures, Price continued to manage the final four stages to start the final day with an impressive 37.39 advantage. By the finish he had added another minute and a half to this time advantage.

Factory team manager Alex Doringer said he was happy and proud of all of his team, but also underlined the two weeks of the rally had been very, very tough.

He said that the retirement of five-time Dakar winner Marc Coma last summer had in fact opened the door to a new generation and the reward was to be seen on the podium.

“I could see Toby was a top guy with potential and good navigation skills,” Doringer said. “He did an amazing job and I am very happy for him. When I brought him into the team I was very happy to do something for my old friend Kurt Caselli. He was the one who encouraged me to try to get Toby to the Dakar and today we see the result.”

Doringer paid tribute to all of his extended team for their efforts and also thanked the KTM Board members and KTM Motorsports for all the support and encouragement they offered to the factory rally team.

The Dakar Rally 2016 was very successful for KTM. Five of the top 10 and 12 of the top 20 finishers rode the made in Austria bikes.

Click here for detailed results