STAGE 4: 30th
Al Qaisumah ➡️ Riyadh
Arguably the toughest stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally so far, the timed special on day four covered an exhausting 465 kilometers of fast tracks and more technical rocky sections and river crossings. Leaving the bivouac in Al Qaisumah early this morning, riders faced a cold liaison section that led them to the start of the special.
As the third rider into the long special, Price soon found himself riding at the front and opening much of the stage. Despite the difficult navigation and mixed terrain, the two-time Dakar champion was able to stay consistent and lose the minimum of time on his rivals. Completing the stage in 30th, Toby currently lies 16th in the provisional overall standings.
“Stage 4 hasn’t gone too badly. Setting off near the front meant we lost a bit of time, but we expected that, especially after such a long stage. All-in-all I got through the stage pretty well, I made a couple of small mistakes, but was able to keep a good pace and a good rhythm, so happy days.”
STAGE 5: 5th
Riyadh ➡️ Riyadh
Continuing to play catch up after losing a large chunk of time on the event’s opening stage, Price rode a strong Stage 5, only to be penalised for speeding in a neutralisation zone. The resulting 6-minute penalty dropped the Aussie down to 5th.
“Stage 5 was a good stage, starting quite far back definitely makes things a bit easier, but today there was a bit of a dust storm, so everyone had to be on their game and focus on the roadbook. I made a couple of little errors and mistakes, but all-in-all it was a solid stage.”
STAGE 6: 9th
Riyadh ➡️ Riyadh
The initially planned 404km special on today's Stage 6 was set to see the bike class competitors repeat the route used by the cars and trucks yesterday. With the terrain heavily cut up by the passing of the previous day’s vehicles, the organisers decided to cut the stage short on safety grounds and take the day’s results from the first refuelling point, at just over the 100km mark.
As the fifth rider to enter the stage, Price also soon realised that extra care was needed to avoid a crash. Despite a couple of close calls, the two-time Dakar champion safely arrived at the end of the special in eighth place.
Lying 12th in the provisional overall standings, Toby trails the leader by just under 40 mins. However, with the toughest, most technical six days of the event left to race, the Australian star is confident of being able to close that deficit.
“The cars and trucks had all passed through there yesterday, so we were on their stage. I think we all went into the stage with a bit of a feeling that it wasn’t going to work and yeah, a lot of the dangers were worse than listed on the roadbook and there were a few extra hazards out there too. I think they made the right call to stop it at 100km – I had a couple of scary moments myself out there. I’m happy to reach the rest day safely, not quite the overall position I would have liked, but there’s still a long way to go, so I’ll give my all and see what I can do next week.”