Meo heads Dakar stage six as Price edges forward
Second on Thursday places Monster Energy Honda's Benavides in overall lead.
Red Bull KTM’s Antoine Meo topped the sixth stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally on Thursday, as Australian teammate Toby Price completed the day in third to close in on the overall lead.
Competing in the final Peruvian stage of this year’s event, Meo put in an excellent performance to top the shortened stage by 30 seconds and arrive safely in Bolivia ahead of Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda) and Price.
With the opening third of the day’s 313km special stage cancelled, riders started at waypoint four on the shores of Lake Titicaca for a 194km sprint over the mountains of Peru and into Bolivia. With the terrain now very much different to the soft sand of the Peruvian desert, riders not only had to adapt to the firmer, but at times muddy, conditions but also the altitude.
Second for Benavides was enough to see him take over the overall lead, now 1m57s ahead of previous leader Adrien van Beveren (Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team), who was eighth in the latest stage overnight.
Price remains sixth overall, albeit now 9m39s outside of the overall lead as things tighten at the top of the rankings. Countryman Rodney Faggotter rode his Yamaha to 26th in stage and is 18th overall, while Grit Adventures KTM rider Scott Britnell was 96th on Thursday and climbed to 78th overall.
On Friday riders will enjoy a well-earned rest day in the city of La Paz, Bolivia. The break will also give competitors a chance to acclimatise to the extreme altitude of the Bolivian Altiplano – the city of La Paz itself sits at 3640m above sea level. Racing will resume on Saturday with the 727km stage seven, La Paz to Uyuni, the first of the two marathon stages for the bikes.