Dakar 2021 Stage 3 – If Toby Price won the third stage of the Dakar on a motorcycle, it is Skyler Howes who takes the lead in the general classification.
Toby Price has charged back to within a minute of the overall Dakar lead, which is now held by non-factory KTM rider Skyler Howes, by taking out Stage 3.
After a day when Price plummeted to 17:39s off the lead as the Hondas dominated, the pendulum swung wildly back in the other direction as the Australian won the special by 3:16s.
While it was Monster Energy Honda’s Kevin Benavides who was best of the rest on the 629km loop around Wadi Ad-Dawasir, his team-mates Joan Barreda Bort and Ricky Brabec fell from first and second to eighth and 13th respectively in the general classification.
As has been the case thus far, the riders starting later in the morning profited, with Benavides 29th to set off and leading to Kilometre 262 on the 403km special.
General classification: Bikes
Pos Rider Nat Make Time/Gap 1 Skyler Howes USA KTM 12:05:48 2 Xavier de Soultrait FRA Husqvarna +0:00:28 3 Toby Price AUS KTM +0:00:52 4 Kevin Benavides ARG Honda +0:01:33 5 Sam Sunderland GBR KTM +0:04:27 6 Ross Branch BOT Yamaha +0:06:14 7 Luciano Benavides ARG Husqvarna +0:06:56 8 Joan Barreda Bort ESP Honda +0:08:02 9 Adrien Van Beveren FRA Yamaha +0:08:09 10 Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo CHI Honda +0:08:24
Price began five bikes ahead in the road order and was no worse than one position or 66 seconds worse off than the Argentine at any waypoint before he moved into the stage lead.
The Red Bull KTM Factory rider was 45 seconds up on Benavides at the penultimate waypoint, before putting another 2:31s between them in the last 49km.
With three stages down out of 12, Price sits 52 seconds behind BAS Dakar KTM’s Howes and 24 seconds behind HT Rally Raid Husqvarna’s Xavier de Soultrait.
Howes was eighth overall at the start of the day but set the fourth-fastest stage time, 7:16s slower than Price’s, with de Soultrait sixth-quickest in the special.
The overall top five is rounded out by Benavides and another Red Bull KTM rider who made a big recovery in Sam Sunderland, while Monster Energy Yamaha’s Ross Branch slipped to sixth, at 6:14s off top spot in the general classification.
Barreda Bort dropped almost 10 minutes relative to Price in the first 43km alone and is now 8:02s off Howes’ overall lead, while Brabec trails his fellow American by 11:15s.
KTM Factory Team rookie Daniel Sanders crept up to 16th in the general classification but, more importantly, picked up more than five minutes relative to the overall lead and is now 15:46s off the pace.
Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM) finished third on the stage but is still over two hours behind in the event all told after a clutch problem a day earlier.
Stage 4 takes the field 813km to Ryadh, although with only a relatively short 337km special.
DAKAR 2021 STAGE 3 – TOBY PRICE WINS DAKAR 2021 STAGE 3 – TOBY PRICE WINS