Tight 2023 finish goes down to the wire between Red Bull KTM teammates.
Australia’s Toby Price has claimed the runner-up result in the 2023 Dakar Rally after Red Bull KTM teammate Kevin Benavides clinched victory on the 14th and final stage.
Price led into Sunday by 12 seconds, however, it wasn’t enough to keep a fast-finishing Benavides at bay as he rode to his second and KTM’s 19th win in the iconic rally.
Leading the standings going into the final stage, 35-year-old Price was the last rider to enter the special. Aiming to chase down Benavides who had set off three minutes ahead of him, he got his head down and gave his all right from the start.
A couple of issues early in the stage cost the two-time winner the valuable seconds he needed to stay in front and, despite clawing back close to one minute on the latter half of the special, it wasn’t quite enough to overhaul the flying Benavides. The pair were split by just 43 seconds after more than 44 hours of competition.
“So, so close,” Price commented. “Yeah, a great job from Kevin, he did really well today. I knew it was going to be tight and, of course, I pushed right from the start all through the stage. I just missed three waypoints by virtually meters and it dropped me back.
“Obviously the goal is to win and it’s frustrating to miss out by such a narrow margin, but I’m fit, healthy and I’m going home with a trophy, so that’s the most important thing. I’m ready for another one next year.”
Finishing third was Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Skyler Howes in what has been a career-best ride for the American. He led the race for a total of six stages and stayed in the hunt for victory right through to the very final timed special.
With a close runner-up finish on the 14th and final stage, Red Bull GasGas standout Daniel Sanders brought his RX 450F home safely to secure a gritty seventh place overall result.