Dakar 2021: Toby Price wins Stage 3, Howes takes overall lead
Stage 3 of the Dakar has drawn to a close, with KTM factory rider Toby Price taking the stage win from Kevin Benavides and Matthias Walkner. This moves Price up to third in the overall rankings. The leading Hondas of Joan Barreda Bort and Ricky Brabec had a difficult day opening the stage and lost large chunks of time, and with it, their lead.
Price had a difficult stage 2 yesterday, with a faulty rear fuel tank forcing him to cut down his pace significantly and conserve fuel. He had dropped to 15th in the overall rankings and was over 17 minutes behind Barreda Bort before today’s stage started. However, opening the stage wasn’t easy for the latter and navigational trouble through the day allowed Price to make up significant time. It was actually Benavides that was leading the stage most of the way, but then Price dug deep in the last 100km of the special stage and claimed the stage win. A 2 minute penalty to Benavides didn’t help his case, and while it didn’t cost him a position in the stage rankings, it did bump him down the overall rankings. Matthias Walkner, who had a difficult day 2 with mechanical trouble that cost him 2 hours 15 mins, put in a strong performance today to take third place in the stage. He is not in podium contention yet though, as he remains 2 hours behind the leader overall.
Top riders Joan Barreda Bort, Ricky Brabec and Pablo Quintanilla did not manage to get into the top ten positions, finishing the stage in 30th, 25th and 23rd positions respectively.
This shuffling of the orders has moved privateer Skyler Howes astride his KTM 450 Rally in to first place overall, followed by Husqvarna’s Xavier De Soultrait and Toby Price. Benavides’ penalty has pushed him down to fourth place overall, though he is just 1:33 off the leader.
Stage four of Dakar 2021 begins tomorrow, taking competitors from Wadi Al-Dawsir to Riyadh, the longest stage yet with a 337km special.