Walkner takes command | Cruel twist for Van Beveren

Austrian rider on Austrian bike in command

Van Beveren crashes out of Dakar

Top riders lose time with Nav’ error

Austrian rider on Austrian bike in command

Walkner leads by 40-minutes

Toby Price slips to fifth outright

Rod Faggotter up to 20th

Scott Britnell up to 68th


Dakar 2018 – Stage Ten Report

Dakar 2018 could have been decided overnight in the river beds of Belén. When many of the top runners strayed almost 10 km from the right track for more than 50 minutes, including Toby Price…

Toby Price

“I’m so disappointed with the result today. It was hot out there and I didn’t have much fluid so that made things even harder. We were running really well right up until the end but obviously made a mistake with the navigation on the final waypoint. It seems a lot of the other riders made a very similar mistake, but I guess that’s the way it goes. I lost a huge amount of time and that is going to be hard to get back, but I’ll keep pushing on and see what the next few stages bring us.”

Toby Price
Toby Price

Others to make this crucial error included Kevin Benavides, Antoine Meo, Stefan Svitko, Joan Barreda and Ricky Brabec, and for all of them perhaps their hopes for overall victory evaporated.

The leader of the general standings at the beginning of the stage, Adrien Van Beveren, most definitely has seen his Dakar dream disappear.. The Yamaha man was set to make significant gains but exited the rally after a high-speed fall just three kilometres from the finishing line.

Alexandre Kowalski – Yamaha Rally Team Director

“Today we went from absolute joy to an incredible low. Adrien was perfectly following the plan that we have set together with our sports manager Jordi Arcarons and he was having a great stage. He lost some time in the morning but kept improving as the race went on. He was among the first riders to find the right track in the river where most of the leaders got lost, and together with the eventual stage winner Walkner they were 49-minutes ahead of the rest of the pack. The crash took place less than five-kilometres before the finish. This has been an epic journey for Adrien so far and we were all behind him in his efforts. We had a dream race so far and the spirit within the team was great. Unfortunately, the Dakar is such a tough event that all can change in just a few seconds. Following the first medical checks at the hospital, it seems that Adrien has suffered a broken collarbone. He will remain under close supervision and tomorrow we will have more solid info. The race goes on for us and we are all behind Rod in his road towards the finish of this extremely challenging event.”

Adrien Van Beveren before the crash
Adrien Van Beveren before the crash

Matthias Walkner was running third at the start of the second leg of the timed special, six-minutes behind the leader. Taking extreme care to find each waypoint, Walkner navigated his way successfully to the finish and was surprised to find himself the first rider home. The Austrian now leads the provisional overall standings by a sizable 39-minutes and 42-seconds.

Matthias Walkner
Matthias Walkner

Matthias Walkner

“What a day. That was such a tough stage, not only because of the heat but because of the navigation, too. I knew today how important it would be to bide my time and concentrate on finding each waypoint successfully. Better to spend a few seconds getting things right than pushing on, wasting a lot more time after getting lost. When the tracks from the guys in front disappeared, I got a little worried that I had made a mistake, but I carried on and trusted myself. It was a big relief when I saw the waypoint validated and I reached the finish. It’s always good to take a stage win, but never nice when one of your opponents crashes out. I hope Adrien (Van Beveren) is ok. We have a hard stage tomorrow so I’ll go about it in the same way and try not to make any mistakes.”

Matthias Walkner
Matthias Walkner

Kevin Benavides brothers had high hopes at the start in Salta, his home town. Having led for the first 242 kilometres of the stage with a considerable lead over his rivals, Benavides bombed spectacularly by following the wrong river bed on the last part of the special. Instead of grabbing a victory, which seemed to be there for the taking and climbing to the top of the general standings, the Argentinean now trails the new leader of the provisional classification, Walkner, by 41 minutes and is third overall. 

Toby Price and Antoine Meo, were in the leading group of three at the mid-way service. Unfortunately, as is often the case when following other riders, navigation becomes more difficult and mistakes are easier to make. Forced to turn around and retrace their steps, Price and Meo eventually re-joined the correct route and made it to the finish.

Antoine Meo

“The first part of the stage went really well for me today, I was opening the road but my pace was good and I was happy with how things were going. After refuelling I was following Benavides and riding in his dust. We ended up making a mistake with one of the final waypoints and ended up way off course. The helicopter guided us back to the route, but we lost so much time. It’s disappointing, but we got to the finish in one piece which is the most important thing. I’ll keep on pushing for the remaining stages because anything can happen at the Dakar as we have seen today.”

Pablo Quintanilla was a big mover on Tuesday, the Husqvaran man posting the second fastest time for the day. In doing so he climbed to ninth in the event’s provisional overall standings. With four more demanding stages to go, the two-time Rally World Champion is less than 30-minutes behind a provisional top six final result.

Pablo Quintanilla

“It was a really tough day. Even before its start we knew it would be a tricky stage in terms of navigation, with lots of off-piste section in camel grass terrain. There were also many rivers and some of them were in parallel to the right tracks. Following my results from the previous stage in Bolivia I had a good starting position so focused on my navigation and tried my best to make up some of the time lost. I didn’t want to push over the limit, as I knew it was possible to make a mistake. This strategy worked in my favour and we managed to get a good stage result.”

Pablo Quintanilla
Pablo Quintanilla

Rodney Faggotter brought his WR450F Rally home in 13th position. Making up some of the time the Aussie lost during the last couple of stages, the Queensland Yamaha dealer is now 20th in the provisional overall standings of the rally.

Rodney Faggotter

“What a day this has been. We knew the stage would include some really tricky navigation so from my side I just did the best I could to stay fast and avoid mistakes. These warm temperature might be more to my liking, but the tracks today were dusty and tough. I am happy that this stage is over and I managed to climb a few spots in the overall, but obviously we are all disappointed with Adrien being forced to abandon the race. He had a great run so far and I hope he is back racing with us soon. As for me, I am in good shape right now and I will do my best to take my Yamaha to the finish of this event in Cordóba.”

Rodney Faggotter
Rodney Faggotter

Provisional Results Stage 10 – 2018 Dakar Rally

1. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 4:52:26
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 5:04:01 +11:35
3. Gerard Farres (ESP), KTM, 5:08:47 +16:21
4. Oriel Mena (ESP), Hero, 5:13:11 +20:45
5. José Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 5:15:40 +23:14
….
13. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha, 05:30:33, +38:07
19. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 5:41:43 +49:17
26. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM, 5:52:39 +1:00:13

Provisional Standings after Stage 10 – 2018 Dakar Rally

1. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 32:21:03
2. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 33:00:45 +39:42
3. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 33:02:26 +41:23
4. Gerard Farres (ESP), KTM, 33:08:49 +47:46
5. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 33:11:21 +50:18
6. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM, 33:24:38 +1:03:35

20. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha, 35:12:07, +02:41:10


Dakar 2018 Stage 11 Preview

Tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) Stage 11 of the 2018 Dakar Rally is the infamous Super Fiambalá – often regarded as the toughest and most exhausting of the event. It is not overly long, the timed special only measures 280km, but the temperature in the dunes around the town of Fiambalá makes the stage extremely tough on mind and body. That, combined with the extra-soft sand of the area, provides a real challenge for the competitors.

Stage 11 | Jan 17 | Belén to Fiambalá | SS: 280km | Total: 484km
Stage 12 | Jan 18 | Fiambalá to San Juan | SS: 375km | Total: 722km
Stage 13 | Jan 19 | San Juan to Córdoba | SS: 423km | Total: 904km
Stage 14 | Jan 20 | Córdoba to Córdoba | SS: 119km | Total: 284km