Stage 13: 5th
Delivering an excellent ride to fifth place on stage 13, despite a small crash and a navigational error, Price retained his lead in the overall standings.
But with Benavides now moving into second, a mere 12 seconds behind, the race to the finish line in Dammam on Sunday’s final stage will be intense.
As per the Dakar Rally rules, riders will set off in reverse order to the general standings, meaning Kevin will be second-to-last away, followed by Price.
“It was a hectic day out there. I caught the guys in front at about kilometer 90 and thought to myself, if I want to win this race, I have to be out front and capture that bonus a little bit. I had a small crash where I was focused on the top of one dune, lost the front, and fell over. Then around kilometer 130 we just went slightly too far right and lost a little time getting back on course. I really pushed hard all day, with the goal to still be in the lead going into the final day. I managed to do that, so I’m pleased, but it’s still incredibly tight at the top. Tomorrow really is going to be a race to the finish line, but I’ll give it all I have and see where we end up.”
Stage 14: 3rd
Leading the standings going into the 14th and final stage of the race by just 12 seconds, Price was the last rider to enter the special.
Aiming to chase down Benavides who had set off three minutes ahead of him, Price got his head down and gave his all right from the start.
A couple of issues early in the stage cost the Aussie the valuable seconds he needed to stay in front, and despite clawing back close to one minute on the latter half of the special, it wasn’t quite enough to overhaul the flying Benavides.
Price produced an incredible performance over the course of the two-week race, securing no fewer than 10 top-five stage results, and a win on the event’s opening prologue, the two-time Dakar champion was undoubtedly the man to beat throughout the rally.
Missing out by less than one minute after more than 44 hours of racing is of course frustrating, but knowing he gave his absolute all every single day, Price is happy with how he rode and with the hard-fought runner-up result he’s secured at the world’s toughest rally-raid.
“So, so close. Yeah, a great job from Kevin, he did really well today. I knew it was going to be tight, and of course I pushed right from the start all through the stage. I just missed three waypoints by virtually meters, and it dropped me back. Obviously, the goal is to win, and it’s frustrating to miss out by such a narrow margin. But I’m fit, healthy, and I’m going home with a trophy, so that’s the most important thing. I’m ready for another one next year.”