Another gruelling stage today from Al Qaisumah to Riyadh with a mix of straights, dunes, rocks and just riding hell where KTM factory rider Toby Price took his first stage win of 2022 after his exit from last year’s race through injury after a troublesome crash and hitting some rocks.
Price now sits just outside the top ten in 11th, some 31:19mins behind the lead, but if he keeps putting in performances like this over the next few stages could see himself shoot up the table like a Henry’s Law bubble.
Another impressive rider from Danilo Petrucci on the KTM saw him arrive second 4:14min off the pace and now sitting proud in 18th but with 19hours behind after picking up an 11hour penalty…the MotoGp rider’s race is all over, however it’ll be time to get valuable experience for next year’s race as he has shown a great talent for the rally raids.
In another tight field today, the top ten slots were separated only by 11:39min. Luciano Benavides on the Husqvarna bringing up the rear whilst brother Kevin and last year’s winner now on the KTM finished the day in 8th.
Another amazing effort for privateer for Martin Michek in 9th some 11:21min behind the the stage leader. Yamaha’s Ross Branch took a solid 3rd, only 2secs behind Petrucci, whilst the two Honda riders; Cornejo and R Brabec took 4th & 5th respectively.
Another impressive ride from American Mason Klein on the BAS Dakar KTM bike saw him land 6th, some 7:35min behind Price on the day, whilst Yamaha rider Andrew Short proving once again he can compete in the sand with a solid 7th and 8:43 behind Price.
Crucially for the overall lead, KTM Walkner finished 11th, Gas Gas riders Sunderland and Sanders finished 12th & 13th respectively whilst Van Beveren on the Yamaha finished the day 14th.
So overall British hopeful Sam Sunderland on the Gas Gas retains the lead but now extending to 2:29mins ahead of KTM Matthias Walkner and 5:59mins ahead of 3rd Van Beveren on the Yamaha.
Svitko brings up the rear in 10th overall but some 22:50mins behind the lead…but it is tight in the pack and any slip ups, technical issues for navigational conundrums could see this all change, but so far Sunderland is going steady and eeking out a slender lead.
Tomorrow we will see another marathon 560km total to ride with 346km of special stage in the orbital from Riyadh to Riyadh…if the weather holds up as there has been some substantial rain and flooding affecting start times, routes and distances too.