Price wins 2nd title, maintains KTM’s domination of Dakar bikes class
Australian rider Toby Price continued KTM’s stranglehold over the Dakar Rally bikes division by winning his second title on Thursday.
The 31-year-old Price, who had a one-minute, two-second lead over Chilean Husqvarna rider Pablo Quintanilla after Wednesday’s action, ended the rally in style by winning the 10th and final stage from Pisco to Lima.
The Australian put on a masterclass on the final day, easily winning the short 112-kilometer (69-mile) timed portion by a gap of 2:21 over Chilean Honda rider Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo.
It was a gritty victory for the Australian, who underwent surgery prior to the event for a broken right wrist suffered during training and was still in great pain at the start of the rally.
Quintanilla went all out on Thursday to close the gap and clinch what would have been a historic first-ever victory for Husqvarna, but he suffered a crash early on that cost him precious minutes and ended up finishing the 10th stage in 22nd place, 19:44 behind Price.
Despite ending the rally more than 20 minutes in back of the Australian, the Chilean still managed to earn a spot on the podium because KTM rider Sam Sunderland (the 2017 bikes champion) was assessed a huge one-hour penalty for allegedly deliberately tampering with his navigation system during the eighth stage in a bid to avoid opening the road.
Quintanilla also finished third in 2016, the year Price won his first Dakar Rally title.
Austrian 2018 bikes champion Matthias Walkner (KTM) claimed second place in this year’s rally, although he finished a distant 9:13 behind Price.
KTM has completely dominated the Dakar bikes class, winning all 18 rallies dating back to 2001.
The only year it didn’t win was 2008, when the Dakar Rally (then scheduled to be held in Europe and Africa) was canceled due to concerns about a possible terrorist attack.
This year’s rally in Peru, which began on Jan. 6 in Lima, was the 11th edition in South America and the first ever to be staged exclusively in one country.