2017 Dakar Rally, Day: 2, Course: 803km, Special (timed): 275km
Aussie Red Bull KTM rider Toby Price has taken his first stage win of Dakar 2017, dominating the second day’s proceedings and lifting himself into the top spot in the overall rankings in the process, 2min54s clear of Honda’s Paulo Gonçalves (Portugal). His KTM teammate Matthias Walkner was second at the end of the stage though the Austrian rider copped a five-minute penalty which gifted Gonçalves second place in the day’s stage rankings. Frenchman Xavier de Soultriat (Yamaha) completed the day’s top three while Briton Sam Sunderland (KTM) and Chilean Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) rounded out the top five.
Price, typically, talked down his dominance and, after being the 17th rider to leave the day’s start line, named the dust and the cows as the day’s toughest obstacles.
“Another victory there; I can’t complain — it’s all gone alright,” said Price. “I had a quick look at the time on the thing, but I’m not too sure of the gap. It’s only early days so it’s just nice and smooth and consistent for the rest of the week and looking forward to pushing hard the second week.
“It was really crazy. There were a lot of cows. It was really hard coming through all the dust there this morning. A couple of them caught me a bit by surprise.”
Aussie Rod Faggotter (Yamaha) had a sterling day amid tough conditions to end the stage in 10th place which has lifted the Queenslander up to 12th overall. Todd Smith (KTM) looked set for a top-20 stage ranking but copped a significant 22-minute penalty which dropped the Dakar debutante down to 52nd place and he currently sits 45th in the overall rankings. Aussie privateer Matthew Hart (Husqvarna) rode a solid day to finish 35th in the stage from 132 riders and is currently 58th overall.
Price (Aus) 1st 1st
Gonçalves (Por) 2nd 2nd
Sunderland (GBr) 4th 3rd
Faggotter (Aus) 10th 13th
Smith (Aus) 52nd 45th
Hart (Aus) 35th 58t