A 4th place in the today’s stage for Toby Price (KTM) means he holds on to 5th overall in the 2018 Dakar.
Joan Barreda Bort (Honda) has taken the stage win – his third for this year – but is in doubt for the rest of the event, and Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) has re-taken the overall lead from Kevin Benavides (Honda).
- STAGE 7: La Paz / Uyuni
- Liaison > 302 km – Special > 425 km
After a rest day in La Paz, 110 motorcycles out of the original 139 starters set out on today’s 7th and first marathon stage of the 2018 Dakar.
La Paz is the highest administrative capital in the world, resting on the Andes’ Altiplano plateau at more than 3,500m above sea level. The rest day allowed competitors to acclimatise to the altitude and catch up on some much needed rest before tackling the tough high altitude terrain.
Toby Price posted on Facebook ahead of the stage: “Almost time to put the Alpinestars work gear back on! I’m excited to get back out there for Stage 7, today’s rest day has been good. I just got my road book for tomorrow and it’s fairly chunky, so it’s looking like a long day tomorrow with it being our first marathon stage. As we stand in the overall standing right now I’m happy just 9.5 minutes off the overall lead and considering where I was this time last year I’m just grateful to be out here competing and doing what I love!”
His fourth place today, just 8 min 43 sec behind stage winner Joan Barreda Bort means he retains 5th place overall.
Fellow Aussie Rod Faggotter (Yamaha) completed today’s stage in 31st, dropping a little time and moving him down the order to 23rd overall.
Scott Britnell (KTM) is pushing on – the Australian KTM rider has made it through to Waypoint 6 as we write this story.
But the big news is that stage winner Joan Barreda Bort (Honda) looks like he has broken his knee, and may not be able to continue in the 2018 Dakar.
“I started the stage all guns blazing and everything was going well, but around kilometre 300 I went off-track and had a nasty fall. I think I broke my knee, and from then the pain made me slow down. Now it’s time to see what we can do about it, but it’s looking really bad. I’m sure it’s broken, my knee is out of whack and I can’t even put my foot on the floor.”
In a second significant blow to Honda’s chances of a win, Michael Metge (Honda) has retired. The Frenchman struggled for hours after breaking a wheel and was unable to reach the finish. He has therefore decided to withdraw.
After a steady run Adrien Van Beveren is happy to be back in the overall lead: “I want to give it my best shot every day, and it’s working so far. I try to ride smart and avoid any falls. I managed to open up a gap, which is great. You absolutely have to avoid falls during the marathon stage because the mechanics won’t be there to help you out. Finally, this was a stage for pushing hard. Technical courses are right up my alley because my bike is very easy to handle. It feels great to be leading the Dakar. I’ll try to keep it up because I’ve got good sensations on my bike.”
Top 5 after Stage 7
- 1. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team)
- 2. Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda Team) – 00:03:14
- 3. Joan Barreda Bort (Monster Energy Honda Team) – 00:04:45
- 4. Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM Factory Team) – 00:08:18
- 5. Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Team) – 00:13:34
- 5. Toby Price (KTM) – 00:13:34
- 21. Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha) – 01:56:18
- TBA. Scott Britnell (KTM)
Want to know more about these riders and drivers – check out our competitor profiles:
- Toby Price
- Rodney Faggotter
- Scott Britnell
- Laia Sanz
- Rosa Romero Font
- Gabriela Novotna
- Camelia Liparoti