Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has retaken the lead of the 2023 Dakar Rally following a strong ride to third place on stage 12 – the second leg of the event’s Empty Quarter marathon stage.
Stage 10: 19th
Price was the second rider to enter the Stage 10 special, and again, using his skill and experience to good effect, chose to navigate carefully through the dunes to minimize any costly errors.
With the leaders’ times extremely close over the short special, Price completed the day in 19th, but only eight minutes down on the leader.
The Aussie remains very much in contention near the top of the overall standings where he now lies third.
“Today was a long day – we were up at 2:30am, but then just a short special. I tried to pace myself a little today to make sure I didn’t make any big mistakes and to also get a good start for tomorrow’s longer stage. I dropped down a little in the standings, but didn’t lose too much time, and now hopefully I’m well-placed to attack tomorrow. So far so good.”
Stage 11: 3rd
Price was the 19th rider to enter the Stage 11 special and the Australian made steady progress through the stage, balancing out-and-out speed with preservation.
Ultimately posting the third-fastest time for the stage, just under two minutes down on the leader, means Price climbed back up to second overall and will have two riders to chase down on the slightly shorter 185-kilometer special on stage 12.
“I think the stage went well for me today, I was able to get a little bit of time back and that puts me in good contention for the podium places still. I’m feeling in good shape and the bike is perfect, so no issues there. Starting back a little bit definitely helped today. I did make a little mistake early on, like a couple of the guys in front I think, but was able to correct it pretty quickly and carry on. I just took it quite steady today – pushed where it was safe to do so and then eased off a bit to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. I’ll be third away for tomorrow, which isn’t too bad, so I’ll keep on fighting and see where we end up.”
Stage 12: 3rd
Completing the second leg of the marathon stage without issue, Price covered the 185-kilometer timed special on stage 12 in just under two hours.
More importantly, he not only made up time on his closest rivals in the race for victory, but he also regained the overall rally lead and will have two other riders to chase down on tomorrow’s penultimate stage 13.
Racing at the front of the field remains incredibly close with Price leading the general rankings by a narrow margin of just under 30 seconds.
The two-time Dakar champion will draw on all his experience and skill to ensure good, solid finishes over the final two stages of the race as he has his sights set firmly on securing his third title at the world’s toughest rally-raid.
“The marathon stage has gone well. I have to admit, I didn’t sleep that well yesterday, but I gave it my all out there on the dunes. I wasn’t sure of the result when I came in to the finish today, but it looks like I’m back on top, leading the race. It’s a really close race right now and even the smallest problem could cost you the win. My plan is to keep on pushing over the next two days and try and have some fun.”