Gruelling day sees Australian safely ride to ninth position.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price says the third stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally was more about survival than racing, which ultimately saw him wind up ninth on the day.
Riders were put through a gruelling 331-kilometre timed special, starting at sea level before climbing to an altitude of over 2,000 metres. The challenging stage was heightened in difficulty when fog hindered navigation, adding to the mentally and physically strenuous outing.
Price, a former Dakar victor, has been battling with a fractured scaphoid sustained in the lead up the event, however he’s been pushing on through the injury and sits fifth in the outright classification.
“I think it was more about survival than racing today,” Price admitted. “It was a really tough stage but I got through it and I’m feeling good and that’s what matters. I got lost early on and that cost me some time to the front runners. Then at about the 130-kilometre mark there was a lot of fog in the mountains.
“The road book didn’t have too many details and there were a few cliffs you could have dropped off. Luckily, I missed them. I’m still trying to hang on and get to the end of each stage but overall things are good.”
The stage caught out early leader Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team) at the 143-kilometre mark, where he evacuated by helicopter to safety after becoming stuck in the mountains.
Stage four of the 2019 Dakar Rally marks the first half of the marathon stage. Riders will leave Arequipa and head for the temporary bivouac in Moquegua where they will receive no outside assistance from their teams. The 511-kilometre stage includes a demanding 405-kilometre timed special – the longest of the rally.