Matthias Walkner seals KTM’s 17th win in a row
Stage 14: Córdoba – Córdoba. Link: 166km. Special: 120km
The competitors have crossed the finish line at the 40th Dakar Rally, marking an end to one of the toughest runnings of the world famous rally raid. In the final run around Córdoba in Argentina, the competitors had to cross several rivers in a sprint that took them over 120km of testing terrain. Everything remained in the balance was decided until the racers crossed the final finish line.
Following Toby Price in 2016 and Sam Sunderland in in 2017, it’s another new winner of the Dakar Rally Bike race. Red Bull KTM Factory Team rider Matthias Walkner becomes the first Austrian to win the Dakar, fittingly astride an Austrian-built KTM machine. Having been badly injured in 2016. Finished second in 2017, it’s a deserved victory for the Austrian, who was near-faultless in his navigation and managed his lead masterfully. It’s a staggering 17th win in a row for KTM.
“It’s really, really amazing. I was never thinking that I really could win. The goal was to stay on the podium, but it was so close this year and day ten was a key day. Maybe luck was on my side this time, but it’s really a dream come true. It was a really crazy Dakar. The riding level was so high. There were five other people who could have won it but it looks like I was the lucky one. I was surely a little bit lucky. I think that on the Dakar you need a bit of luck on but sometimes you have it and sometimes you don’t have it. This time it was on my side. In 2016 after my bad injury, that changed a lot for me. It’s so cool to be back here”.
In the final run, Kevin Benavides (Honda) was under pressure from the unstoppable Toby Price (KTM) but the Argentine dug deep to win the last stage and take second in the final standings. This year the Argentinean has proven a real contender, leading the overall standings at one point and will be in the reckoning for victory in 2019. Having come back from a massive injury in 2017, 3rd place is an amazing achievement for Price and Enduro star Antoine Meo (KTM) continues to build his Dakar legend with 4th.
- 1. K. Benavides (Honda) 01:26:41
- 2. T. Price (KTM) at 00:00:54
- 3. A. Meo (KTM) at 00:02:49
By Red Bull