Price takes overall bikes lead on Dakar Stage 12

Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

Price takes overall bikes lead on Dakar Stage 12

Off Road

Price takes overall bikes lead on Dakar Stage 12

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Stage 12 at the Dakar Rally brought the conclusion of the two-part Marathon Stage. Competitors had been separated from their mechanics for two days and forced to make any necessary repairs themselves to complete 450km/280 miles of racing in the dunes.

A fifth consecutive stage win for Sebastien Loeb moved the nine-time WRC winner move up to second overall in the car race. Loeb and co-driver Fabian Lurquin have been setting the pace since the Rest Day in their BRX Hunter and are now just one place off the overall lead, albeit still a long way behind Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah.

“It was a perfect day: no mistakes, no stalling, no about turns,” recounted Loeb. “We drove well and the car worked perfectly. Second place is our goal, that’s why we’re pushing.”

The Toyota Hilux T1+ of Al-Attiyah and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel overcame the two-part Marathon Stage with minimal fuss. Four-time Dakar champion Al-Attiyah now has just two stages to successfully complete before he can celebrate a fifth title at the world’s most brutal rally.

“It’s good to finish the marathon stage and bring the car back in good condition. If we finish in the top 5 each day, that’s OK for me, we have a big enough lead.” said the Qatari, who is still 41 minutes ahead.

Rookie Lucas Moraes may have finally conceded second-place overall to Loeb, but the Brazilian Toyota driver still has a spot on the podium to protect. The gap to the driver in fourth overall stands at just under an hour. Moraes and his experienced co-driver Timo Gottschalk now have the final finish line in Dammam in their sights.

The leading rider in the bike race has changed every day since the Rest Day in Riyadh. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Toby Price and Kevin Benavide,s plus Husqvarna biker Skyler Howes are locked in an ever-evolving battle for supremacy.

At the conclusion of Stage 12 it’s two-time Dakar bike race winner Toby Price who has put himself back on top. However, the gaps are still small and Price’s lead over second place Howes is just 28 seconds.

“The Empty Quarter has delivered what they said it was going to do. There was a lot of sand and a lot of nothing out here,” remarked Price.

For Price, Howes and Benavides there’s nothing left to do except ride the best two stages you can on the way to Dammam and hope that it’s enough to bring home the win. After such a close race, it’s going to be tough to take for the two riders of this trio who eventually miss out on victory at the 2023 Dakar.

It was a solid conclusion to the Marathon Stage in the T3 category for the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA presented by BFGoodrich. First of all there was a win on Stage 12 for Mitch Guthrie Jr. and co-driver Kellon Walch in their T3-M by MCE5 machine.

Guthrie Jr.’s teammates Austin Jones and co-driver Gustavo Gugelmin were also applauded back to the Shaybah bivouac as they now hold the overall T3 lead. Jones’s closest competitors are the fellow Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team crew of Seth Quintero/Dennis Zenz as 1h 4m 37s separates first and second overall in the T3 rankings.

“We’ve kept our lead the way it is, so everything is all good over here. For sure, the Empty Quarter is not my favourite – I’m not going to lie – but everyone has to do it, and it is pretty; it’s nice to look at.” admitted Jones.

It was an expert drive on both legs of the Marathon Stage from T4 race leader Rokas Baciuska. The 23-year-old Lithuanian finished third overall last year and now looks set to take the big prize alongside co-driver Oriol Vidal.

Tomorrow’s Stage 13 is the final chance for the convoy to surf the Empty Quarter dunes at this edition of the Dakar. A 153km/95-mile timed special stage leaves the door open to one last serious attack by competitors who want to lift themselves a place or two higher in the rankings before the checkered flag falls in Dammam.

Selected Overall Standings after Stage 12

T1 Car Class
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) TOYOTA 41:16:25
2. Sebastien Loeb (FRA) BRX +01:27:10
3. Lucas Moraes (BRA) TOYOTA +01:29:11
4. Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) TOYOTA +02:22:21

T3 Lightweight Prototype
1. Austin Jones (USA) CAN-AM 47:39:47
2. Seth Quintero (USA) CAN-AM +01:04:37
3. Guillaume De Mevius (BEL) OT3 +01:25:50
4. Chaleco Lopez (CHL) CAN-AM +03:04:08
5. Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP) CAN-AM +03:06:50

T4 SSV
1. Rokas Baciuska (LTU) CAN-AM 49:02:02
2. Eryk Goczal (POL) CAN-AM +07:43
3. Marek Goczal (POL) CAN-AM +16:43

Bikes
1. Toby Price (AUS) KTM 40:47:36
2. Skyler Howes (USA) HUSQVARNA +00:28
3. Kevin Benavides (ARG) KTM +02:40

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