Price slips out of top ten in desert

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Toby Price has finished 17th in the ninth stage of the Dakar Rally, leading him to drop out of the top ten with three stages to go.

The Australian is now 11th in the motorbike endurance event. He is 35 minutes behind Matthias Walkner, of Austria, who took over the lead on Tuesday from Britain's Sam Sunderland.

Walkner, fresh from his second cross-country rallies world championship, has been in the top three for more than a week. The Austrian's consistency in the Saudi Arabian desert paid off when he came fourth on the stage.

Chile's Nacho Conejo won the stage ahead of Argentine Kevin Benavides.

A second successive eighth place enabled Australian duo Molly Taylor and Dale Moscatt to move into the top ten in the SSV category for four-wheel side-by-side vehicles.

In the car category South African Giniel De Villiers claimed his 18th Dakar stage win.

Overall leader Nasser al-Attiyah, also in a Toyota Gazoo Racing, came third. This increased his lead over Sebastien Loeb which is now 39 minutes and five seconds.

Loeb, the nine-time world rally champion, successfully fended off a time penalty for losing his last spare wheel while racing on Monday, after a puncture. Drivers are supposed to retrieve the wheel but organisers accepted his excuse that he didn't know he lost it. He was only fined.

With AP

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