Aussie Price leads Dakar Rally at halfway

Ian Chadband
·2-min read

Australian motorcylist Toby Price overcame a minor crash to seal the lead at the halfway point as he chases his third Dakar Rally crown in Saudi Arabia.

The 33-year-old Gold Coast rider came off his Red Bull factory KTM bike during the sixth gruelling stage of the celebrated rally but remounted to grab back the overall lead.

Price, the race winner in 2016 and 2019, was happy to finish seventh on the shortened 348km stage from Al Qaisumah to Ha'il, which was won by Spain's Joan Barreda, who annexed his third stage victory of the race.

It meant that after more than 24 hours of racing, Price leads the race by just two minutes and 16 seconds from Honda's overnight leader Kevin Benavides.

The Argentine Benavides continued in the race despite suffering a suspected broken nose on Thursday.

"I had one little crash there today just coming out of a corner and broke a shroud, but other than that, everything with the bike has been really good this week," reported Price, who will enjoy a rest day on Saturday.

"Yesterday we had a brake pedal come off, but nothing major. Everything is good and hopefully the bike will get us through the second week."

It has been an eventful week for Price, who has won two stages while also struggling with navigation on other days.

"It's been a mixed bag of everything really, so it's been up and down everywhere," said Price, who reckoned he had been helped by the stage being reduced by 100km after many competitors suffered navigational problems on Thursday.

"All in all, we're still in the fight, we're still there in the race. Anything can happen, there's a long way to go. We're looking forward to week two already.

"I think yesterday (Thursday's fifth stage) was our worst moment, but also probably the best moment. I finished in a pretty good spot, but for the navigation I was quite disappointed with myself. We made a lot of mistakes."

Price's Australian compatriot Daniel Sanders continued his fine debut Dakar race on his KTM by finishing third on the stage and moving to 12th overall, 18 minutes behind the leader.

In the cars section, France's Stephane Peterhansel, a 13-time winner on two wheels and four, retained his lead after finishing fourth on the stage won by triple champ Carlos Sainz.

The 12-stage rally finishes in Jeddah on January 15.