News 17 Jan 2019

Podium the target for injured Dakar leader Price

Australian fan-favourite nursing wrist injury into the final stage.

Image: Supplied.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price says he’ll be more than happy with a podium finish in this year’s Dakar Rally as he leads the Bike category into the final stage.

Price has been battling through a broken scaphoid sustained late last year in a training incident, although it hasn’t slowed down the Australian fan-favourite, remaining consistently up front in the demanding event.

Yet to take out a stage victory, the former Dakar victor took ahold of the standings on stage eight and carried his lead through to the penultimate day, where he now holds a 1m2s advantage over Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla.

“I got through stage nine today where we had the mass-start,” Price explained. “There was no chance to make up any time or lose time really, I just had to stick with the group.

“Tomorrow is only a 100-kilometre stage, but I think it’s going to feel more like 300. The boys are really going to up their pace and all I can do is try my best once more and try to stay with them. If I can get through tomorrow and finish on the podium, I’ll be more than happy.”

Quintanilla, who’s on the cusp of a history-making result for Husqvarna that could end KTM’s dominant 17-year winning streak, acknowledges he’s in a prime position to take out the win, which is what his eyes are firmly set on for the final day of racing.

“I’m in a great spot right now to battle for the win and I’m really happy about that,” said Quintanilla. “Securing a podium result would be great for me and the team, but honestly my eyes are set on getting the win here in Peru.

“Tomorrow I’m determined to give it all for the win. There’s just one minute separating me and Toby [Price] and the day will be long. No matter what happens tomorrow I am very satisfied with my performance at this Dakar. I gave 100 percent on each day and that’s what matters the most for me.”

Defending champion Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) sits in third, a further 6m35s behind Price, and still stands a chance at victory in the unpredictable event.