The 38th edition of the Dakar ended in Rosario after 14 race days and 9,346 km with a new name in the winner list of the bike category. After 10 years that saw the duo Cyril Despres and Marc Coma sharing the wins, the toughest rally has a new face: Toby Price. The 28 year old KTM factory rider was the first Australian ever to win a Dakar.
Not even Stephane Peterhansel, the king of the rally with six wins in the bike category and 6 in the car, could claim his first success at the second attempt.
“Just two years ago, Dakar was a dream, and now I’m on the first step of the podium. It’s insane”, said Price at the end of today’s 180 km special stage. “It has been a tough race. The key has been to preserve the bike in the two marathon stages and to avoid big mistakes in the navigation. I thank KTM and all the fans back home. It’s a honour to represent my country here. This is just the start. I see myself 10 more years battling in the Dakar, I aim at claiming more wins and then, I won’t be competitive on the bike, I would love to try on four heels”.
The second place overall of Stefan Svitko on a private KTM confirmed the reliability of the bike from the Austrian Manufacturer, while the Chilean Pablo Quintanilla brought his Husqvarna on the third spot of the podium.
If Toby Price was the confirmation of the Dakar, the Argentinian Kevin Benavides, was the surprise. With the withdrawn of Joan Barreda, Paulo Goncalves and Michael Metge, the factory Honda celebrated the 27 year old Kevin Benavidez, fourth overall, best rookie and the 24 year old American Ricky Brabec, ninth overall at his debut.
Among the rookies, Antoine Meo had an impressive race but was quite unlucky. Sitting third overall with two days to go and two stage wins in the bag, He compromised his race with a heavy fall in the penultimate stage. The five-time Enduro World Champion rode with an injured hand and finished seventh.
With one stage win, Helder Rodrigues, fifth, confirmed that the Yamaha project is competitive. “I’m happy with this result, because the first week I had fever and I couldn’t push as I wanted. My race started after the rest day, so it’s good to finish in the top five”, said the Portuguese.
Marcos Patronelli grabbed another victory in the quad race, in front of his brother Alejandro and Brian Baragwanath.