Toby Price fights back with Stage 11 victory
Price gains 11-minutes on Walkner
Toby is seven-minutes behind 2nd placed Benavides
Matthias Walkner still has half-hour lead
Joan Barreda out
Van Beveren Medical Update
Rod Faggotter 16th on stage, now 18th outright
Scott Britnell 50th on stage, now 61st outright
Stage 11 was Marathon stage so no overnight team assistance
Thursday’s timed special stage cancelled due safety concerns
Dakar 2018 – Stage 11
Toby Price has fought back from yesterday’s disappointing result to dominate stage 11 of the 2018 Dakar Rally. Antoine Meo put in another superb performance to post the third fastest time for the day while Matthias Walkner placed fifth to retain his position at the top of the provisional overall standings.
Today was the first leg of the second marathon stage at this year’s Dakar Rally. The Super Fiambalá as it has come to be known was a 280km special through the Argentinian dunes with scorching temperatures reaching over 40 degrees. Similar to yesterday’s stage, navigation was massively important as was the ability to conserve machinery as no mechanical help could be provided at the bivouac.
Toby Price was one of those riders who lost their way on yesterday’s stage 10. Riding hard to make up time on today’s stage, Price led the special from start to finish. This dominant performance moves the Australian up to third in the provisional standings, albeit close to 40-minutes down on the leader, team-mate Matthias Walkner. However, organisers have now cancelled the upcoming Stage 12, timed Special Stage, thus Toby will not be able to make up any more ground on Thursday…..
“It’s good to get a stage win! Today we just needed to try and see if we could claw back a little bit of time, and I think we’ve done that, but it’s still gonna be tough from back where we are! In the first week I was quite conservative, but now I’ve attacked some more. To be still in the race after our horror Stage 10 and heading towards the finish line is a pretty big achievement for me. My goal is to stay on two wheels, not make anymore big mistakes and see what that gives us at the finish line!”
Like Price, Antoine Meo was suffering from a late start position due to his result from stage 10. This posed a serious disadvantage as riders were faced with heavily rutted tracks devastated by the passage of the larger four-wheeled counterparts. The Frenchman rode superbly all day battling for the runner-up spot right until the flag. A small mistake cost Meo a few minutes but the former Enduro World Champion was still able to claim third place and also improve his position in the provisional standings to fifth.
Overall leader Matthias Walkner opened the road for the bikes and with stage 11 being a mixed start, the Austrian had to contend with some of the leading cars on the tracks, too. Riding consistently and again concentrating on his navigation, Walkner rode to a strong fifth place, 11-minutes down on his team-mate and winner of the stage, Toby Price. Despite losing a little time today to his rivals, the former Cross-Country Rallies World Champion still holds a comfortable advantage at the top of the standings, 32-minutes ahead of second-placed Kevin Benavides.
“Things went pretty well for me today. I was a little nervous because I didn’t want to go wrong anywhere and lose all of the time that I gained yesterday. The stage was good, but my pace could have been a little better. I didn’t really want to end up making a mistake by pushing too hard though. I got stuck behind one of the cars later on in the stage and didn’t want to risk overtaking so that cost me a few seconds. Overall, I am feeling really good, my body is getting used to all the strain now. There are just three days to go, so I’ll keep focused and carry on.”
Kevin Benavides keeps all options open in the 2018 Dakar after a gruelling stage in Fiambalá that saw Joan Barreda abandon the rally after one too many falls.
The day’s special stage included an early stint in broken-up dry river-beds with some trial-style riding and various treacherous zones before the race arrived at the first stretches of sand and dunes and their correspondingly demanding navigation. With the dunes out of the way, it was back to a combination of fast, broken tracks before reaching the Fiambalá bivouac.
Kevin Benavides was in gung-ho attack mode in an attempt to claw back some of the deficit from the overall leader in the general standings. By the end of the day, the rider from Salta had crossed the line in second place, eating some nine-minutes into the lead of Walkner, leaving the overall distance between the two in the provisional at 32-minutes.
“We changed the chip after yesterday and we went out to push hard. I started out from a long way behind and I found a lot of trucks that had broken up all the track. It was a good result and we have reduced some time from the overall leader. We will continue pushing hard until the end.”
Not so great news elsewhere in the Factory Honda camp though as Joan Barreda retired from the 2018 Dakar whilst still holding second position. After having suffered several falls in some of the earlier stages of the rally and punishing his body severely, the exhausted Spaniard made the decision to completely withdraw.
Barreda had started the rally with a nagging injury to his left wrist, before falling heavily in the seventh stage, La Paz – Uyuni, where he sustained a damaged left knee. Despite the pain, Barreda soldiered on the following day to hold on to his top five place. Yesterday, on the route of the tenth stage from Salta – Belén stage, Barreda suffered concussion. The rider, still determined to defend his overall second place in the general standings, was forced to call an end to his seventh campaign, which is living up to its name as the ‘World’s Toughest Rally’. Barreda goes home with three stage victories this time and a total of twenty-two in all his Dakar participations.
“I couldn’t take it anymore. Since I fell and hit my knee I have been suffering a lot in every stage. My knee was unstable and I had to change my position on the bike but even that didn’t help. Today I reached a point where I couldn’t feel my leg any more and I think that, in spite of everything, the best decision has been to stop so as not to make the situation worse. It’s a pity because I was second in the race overall, but I wasn’t in any condition to fight to win the races.”
For Pablo Quintanilla, it was a day of mixed fortunes. Determined to attack the stage for a good result, the Chilean rally star was leading the way for the first half of the stage before a small mechanical issue forced him to stop briefly. Despite losing time as he fixed the issue, Pablo was quickly back on his Husqvarna to wrap up the stage in 12th position. With three more stages to be contested in Argentina, the FR 450 Rally powered rider is currently eighth in the provisional overall.
“I had a great start to the stage and I was just having fun on my bike. After the 100km mark in the dunes, I had a small technical issue, which took me about 15 minutes to fix. Unfortunately, I lost all the time I had gained from the start of the stage and had to do my best in the remainder of the timed special. We’ve had our fair share of bad luck in this year’s Dakar, but we are still here and fighting for the best. I am now eighth in the provisional overall and I will do my best to go even higher.”
Continuing to make progress in this year’s Dakar Rally, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Rodney Faggotter wrapped up the opening part of the event’s second and final marathon stage in 16th position. With all eyes focused on reaching the big finish of the rally in Córdoba on Saturday, the experienced Aussie rally racer has moved up in the event’s provisional overall standings.
The opening part of the rally’s last marathon stage included yet more racing in dusty and treacherous conditions. Securing his second-best stage result to date, Rodney Faggotter brought his WR450F Rally machine home in 16th position, 41 minutes behind the stage winner. Putting in an impressively consistent ride in the event, the Aussie is 18th in the provisional overall standings with three more stages still to be contested in Argentina.
Alexandre Kowalski – Yamaha Rally Team Director
“This Dakar has been one of mixed emotions for us. We’ve managed to be among the key players since the start of the event, but we were unlucky to see Franco, Xavier and then Adrien lose the opportunity to fight until the end. Following Adrien’s crash yesterday, we’ve all stood behind Rodney in his quest to bring his bike to the finish of this extremely challenging event. Rod keeps impressing every single day. He’s been one of the most consistent racers in this year’s rally and he’s gradually moving higher up in the overall rankings. We’re really satisfied with his hard work and dedication and we will keep supporting him 100% until he crosses the finish line in Córdoba.”
Adrien Van Beveren had suffered a crash shortly before finishing stage 10 of the event in Belén. Currently in hospital where he is receiving medical assistance in La Rioja, Adrien is expected to return to France in the coming days.
Following the incident, Adrien was initially airlifted to the nearest hospital in Belén, Argentina, where he underwent initial medical checks. Then, during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Adrien was taken by ambulance to the Hospital Regional Dr. Vera Barros in La Rioja, Argentina.
Receiving further checks in La Rioja, it was confirmed that Adrien has suffered a broken collarbone, two fractured ribs and a pulmonary contusion (bruise to his lungs), caused by the impact of the crash. Following his personal request, and with the permission of the medical team, Adrien is expected to fly back to France on Wednesday night or Thursday morning in order to continue his rehabilitation.
Alexandre Kowalski – Yamaha Rally Team Director
“The first couple of hours after the incident were long, but luckily Adrien’s condition has been stable throughout the night and this morning. He is in a lot of pain but he is breathing normally and is looking forward to returning to France as soon as possible. He has been under close supervision all through the night, with doctors in La Rioja confirming the initial diagnosis for a broken collarbone, two broken ribs and an impact on his lungs from the crash. Adrien is in much better spirits today, but still extremely disappointed for losing the chance to continue the race and his battle for the coveted Dakar victory. It’s been a heavy blow for all the members of our team but we are all standing behind Adrien.”
Dakar 2018 – Stage 11
1 PRICE Toby 8 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 04:01’33
2 BENAVIDES Kevin 47 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +01’38
3 MEO Antoine 19 FRA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +06’31
4 BRABEC Ricky 20 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +07’34
5 WALKNER Matthias 2 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +11’01
6 FARRES Gerard 3 SPA Himoinsa Team KTM +12’32
7 AUBERT Johnny 40 FRA Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +19’38
8 PEDRERO Joan 12 SPA Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +22’46
9 MENA Oriol 61 SPA Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +27’00
10 CORNEJO José Ignacio 68 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +27’08
11 MONLEON Armand 17 SPA Daming Racing Team KTM +33’38
12 QUINTANILLA Pablo 10 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +33’56
13 SHORT Andrew 54 USA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +36’22
14 SAMUELS Mark USA OX Motorsports Honda +36’27
15 OLIVERAS Daniel 29 SPA Himoinsa Team KTM +40’44
16. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha, 04:42:44
Dakar 2018 – Provisional Overall after Stage 11
1 WALKNER Matthias 2 AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 36:33’37
2 BENAVIDES Kevin 47 ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +32’00
3 PRICE Toby 8 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +39’17
4 FARRES Gerard 3 SPA Himoinsa Team KTM +49’17
5 MEO Antoine 19 FRA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +59’05
6 BRABEC Ricky 20 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +01:18’10
7 AUBERT Johnny 40 FRA Gas Gas Racing Gas Gas +01:49’34
8 QUINTANILLA Pablo 10 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +01:53’19
9 CORNEJO José Ignacio 68 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +02:05’57
10 MENA Oriol 61 SPA Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +02’13’07
18. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha, 39:54:51, +03:21:14
Dakar 2018 – Stage 12 Cancelled
Stage 12 of the 2018 Dakar Rally, was to be the second leg of the final marathon stage, that would again test both rider and machine. Following a night in the bivouac with no team-assistance riders will leave Fiambalá and head for San Juan. Conserving both machine and energy was to have been extremely important on this 723km stage. A long 375km timed special was planned that required good navigational and supreme physical endurance in the Argentinian heat, but dut to safety concerns the timed stage has been cancelled by organsiers, thus Thursday will now be a transport stage only, and no standings will change overnight.